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My Take: It’s time for evangelicals to speak up about guns
December 28th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: It’s time for evangelicals to speak up about guns

Editor’s note: Daniel Darling is a pastor, author and speaker in the Chicago area. His latest book is "Real: Owning Your Christian Faith." He tweets at @dandarling.

By Daniel Darling, Special to CNN

(CNN) – The Bible doesn’t clearly express an opinion on the possession of guns, but many evangelicals defend the unlimited distribution of firearms with the same fervor that they defend biblical orthodoxy. According to a recent Public Religion Research Institute survey, 8% of white evangelical Protestants favor tighter gun laws.

But in the wake of yet another deadly school shooting, it’s time for evangelicals to contribute to the national discussion beyond: “It’s not guns that kill people, it’s people that kill people.”

In fairness to gun enthusiasts, no reasonable observer could pin the blame for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting solely on the lack of effective gun laws. Even President Barack Obama and other influential voices have called for a balanced approach that looks not only at guns but also at mental illness, violent video games and a culture of fatherlessness that produces young troubled men. And the research about the effectiveness of gun controls laws seems mixed at best.

Still evangelicals should not defend the use, proliferation and availability of assault weapons with as much vigor as they defend their faith. In spite of some who insist the Second Amendment is drawn from the Bible, there is no clear-cut Christian position on gun control.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

On one level, the Bible affirms the government’s first and most basic job to protect its citizens, especially the most vulnerable, our children. Romans 13 reminds us that government is “God’s servant for our good.” The Bible also gives high priority to the welfare of children.

At times, the Bible seems to affirm the right to self-defense. Even when Jesus famously told Peter to put down his sword during Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, he didn’t tell Peter to destroy the sword but put it in its rightful place.

On the other hand, the Scripture is pretty clear that Christians should not only oppose violence but should be advocates for the sanctity of human life. This doesn’t simply apply to abortion but to any unlawful taking of human life. Advocating for life also includes taking care of children's and others' well-being after they are born. Each life is created in the image of God; therefore, death is the work of the evil one (1 John 3:15). The Apostle Paul labels death God’s final enemy. Christians are also called to be “peacemakers” and not lovers of violence.

Given the lack of a straightforward biblical imperative for or against guns, faithful followers of Christ should be more flexible in their opinions on this issue.

Why can’t we support sensible restrictions, such as a ban on military-style combat weapons? These weapons seem to serve no purpose other than the glorification of violence. If we take seriously the command to protect our children, we’ll avoid the risk of these weapons getting into the hands of unstable people. Sure, a ban won’t eliminate all weapons, especially those purchased illegally, but it may reduce the chance of another Sandy Hook massacre.

Massacre of children leaves many asking, 'Where’s God?'

We also should also advocate making it harder for people to acquire guns, even sensible weapons purchased for self-defense or hunting. Gun ownership should be a privilege earned by good behavior and conferred only on the most trustworthy of our citizens. I think we can do this without disrespecting the Second Amendment, which besides guaranteeing the right to bear arms calls for this right to be “well-regulated.” As blogger Marty Duren says, “While the Second Amendment provides the right to keep and bear (“carry”) arms, it does not necessitate the right to own any armament the mind of man can create.”

New gun laws won’t prevent every future crime, but perhaps a few common-sense regulations would help destroy a culture of violence that so tempts young troubled men.

Some will argue that new restrictions only hurt those who are already law-abiding. This may be so. But as Christians called to care for the common good of our communities, we should be willing to endure the inconvenience if it saves one child from death.  Since 9/11, we have all endured more hassle at the airport to prevent even one terrorist from killing our fellow citizens.

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Followers of Christ know that it is ultimately not the gun that kills, but evil that resides in every human heart. And yet it is precisely this belief in total depravity that might inform our views on gun control. In a fallen world, the most vulnerable among us need protection from those who cannot or will not discern right from wrong. (Ironically, this is the focus of the Christian anti-abortion argument.) Let’s not put instruments of death so close to hands that would do evil.

At the end of the day, living out our faith requires that we do more than simply react in a defensive posture but engage in this important debate. We can protect the cherished right to bear arms in self-defense and still make sure unnecessary and violent weapons are not sold on our store shelves and online and are not accessible by those in our communities who would use them to commit acts of aggression and murder.

Furthermore, an unwillingness to entertain common-sense restrictions casts the evangelical faith in an unnecessarily unfavorable light. It may cause some to think we love our guns more than our neighbors.

There are many things about which Christians should be unyielding; the right to own a killing machine should not be one of them.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Daniel Darling.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Evangelical • Guns

soundoff (2,819 Responses)
  1. Tim

    This pastor is truely welcome to his interpretaion and opion of the Bible and personal feeling. However, it amazes me that in a city that has recorded over 440+ school age children being injuired or killed but a gun this year, and with a city with some of THE STRICTEST gun laws in the US, that they aren't beating down city hall doors to make some more laws. Maybe a better approach would be to make it mandatory that all homes have a gun as they do in Switzerland, where the crime rate is nil. Maybe the gang bangers, muggers, home invasions types .... will have a differant mind set before they commit a crime.
    If you don't want to own a firearm, then don't. But don't take my right away from me. If someone was commiting a crime against you in public, do you think the perp willl wait for the cops to show up just in time to maybe save your life? Do you know the intent of a person who is commiting a crime against you? Is he or she going to take your life? Are you screaming for help, is someone going to step up and maybe try to save your life??? I know if you are in my State of Indiana, and I was witnessing an assult like to one you are in, I will pull my leagaly owned firearm and do whatever it take to stop such an assult. If you think that it can't happen, just watch the news or pick up a newspaper, it happens everyday.
    Firearm responsibilty includes training and practice...I doubt any of those 440+ children hust this year was done by a person who was a legally owned firearm owner. Why should the mayor enjoy protection and you can't. Do you have your own security team? Good for you if you do... 'Don't tread on me'

    December 30, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Ben

      Be honest, you work for or have lots of stock in Colt firearms, right?

      December 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Tim

      Hey Sis, yea its me...... I knew it wouldn't do any good posting on your FB because you would just delete it.
      Lets have a logical discussion about this sometime. I would think that since you work in a school, security would be of great concern to you but it looks like being a slave to the gov't is more your style. I hope and pray that someday you don't have to live the horror of waiting on law enforcement to eliminate and threat inside the school walls...

      December 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Ben

      Everyone should have guns, even the mentally insane? How about children? Some kids have guns, and they terrorize other kids, so your solution is to give bullied kids guns? Great idea, we can have a Columbine every couple of weeks then.

      December 30, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Ben

      If the kids had guns then they wouldn't have to worry either.

      December 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Tim

      Bob, No I don't work for Colt but I guess I have contriubted to thier bottom line. I do own 3 Colt handguns a SigSauer a couple shotguns and a 30-30 rifle.
      I bet you own a car don't you?
      I wonder how many people your make of car has killed?
      Lets go one step more....how many people have died from your BRAND of car?
      How many people die EVERYDAY in your brand of car?
      Oh, whats that....its not the cars fault.....its the driver?????

      December 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Akira

      Tim.
      A car is designed for transportation.
      A gun is designed with one purpose: to kill.
      I realized that you are passionate about gun ownership, and that's fine.
      However, this "car" argument is tired and there really is no compaerison between the two.

      December 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Tim

      See Ben this is where you moron leftist don't follow through to a logical conclsion.... Why aren't the laws keeping the guns out of kids hands now? What other law would change that? Do you think banning guns would? Kids can't legally own a gun now but they still get them. No, giving a kid a gun to combat a bulliy is not a logical answer. Maybe a little parental involvement? How about a little less Black Ops or Auto Theft?

      So the kid has a gun illegaly, which again a kid cannot posses a gun legally.....tell me again, what law will keep a kid from getting a gun?
      The law keep the CT shooter from getting a gun! He tried and was refused by the gun dealer! The Aurora, CO shooter tried to get a membership to a gun range in Denver and was refused by the range master because he felt something was just not right about the guys mental state. Lets go one step further with that one, who did know is mental state....Oh yes, his thapist, his college professor and what did they do..................? I know all this taking things out the logically conclusion is tough on you.
      Even though you hold the views you do Ben, I would still come to your aid if I thought your life was injepordy...

      December 30, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Ben

      Tim
      Guns are in kids' hands because there are incredible numbers of guns around for them to buy from somebody, steal, and otherwise get their hands on. Laws that would limit the supply of guns for them to buy from somebody, steal, and otherwise get their hands on would limit the number of guns that they could possess.

      If the CT shooter could only get his hands on a deer rifle with a 5 round clip then this story would have likely been far less tragic.

      December 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  2. doabitofhomework

    An argument running through these comments is that God doesn't exist, or that God does exist. But that isn't the real point, is it?

    Those claiming God exists are ALSO claiming that their version of God, and their specific scriptural mummeries, are ALSO true and real.

    Many people have no religion, but believe in God. For them, it is valid to say that their faith in God cannot be disproven or proven. But for those whose belief in God comes, hand-in-glove, with belief in scriptures, which are claimed to be God's own words, is another matter entirely.

    The real conflict here is in regard to the scriptures believed in, not the fact of a God's existence.

    Even if the world could come to an agreement that God exists, the argument wouldn't end there – not by a long shot. Because the REAL issue is "whose scriptural mummeries really ARE the words of God?"

    THAT is the issue. An atheist can believe in God but none of them buys into anyone's mummeries. It is the scriptures they are rejecting, not the existence of God. Atheism means non-theist. In other words, without religion. Religion thinks it owns god, of course, but some atheists are fully capable of believing there is a god, but are incapable of believing some religious sect's scriptures, including the Bible. There are several "versions" of even the Bible, so they can't fall back on it without enunciating which version they're referring to. None do, because, to them, THEIR version is (should be) the only one.

    An atheist clearly sees that scriptures are the foundations of groups that are hierarchical and profoundly political. For them, it isn't enough for someone to believe in God. They must ALSO believe that their group's mummeries are the words of that God, to get people to enslave themselves to it. The god doesn't matter so much, but it is supremely important to them to have believers accept a certain version of "scripture" as the words of that god. That's what gives them the handle for controlling the believers. What good is a believer to them if he believes in nothing except the existence of a god?

    Atheists can't all be labeled as godless, because some DO accept a god's existence. It is RELIGION that they reject utterly.

    And with ample good reason.

    I don't care if the existence of a god can be proven or not. What I already DO know is that there isn't a single "scripture" which comes close to believability. Any scripture that came from a real god would not have flaws or contradictions – not even one. Yet they all are riddled with those things, in every single faith you can name. Those texts are entirely man-made, and it shows.

    So it isn't necessary to prove that god exists. Prove, instead, that the mummery really did come from that god. Can't be done. But it CAN be proven that it didn't.

    So the real issue isn't god. It's the mummeries, the "scriptures," that are involved in combat with one another – and with nonbelievers of every stripe.

    Someone who merely believes in god will get no grief from this kid. But one who believes he/she KNOWS what that god wants from us all, and that a certain writing is god's orders to us, will get nothing but contempt from me.

    But I can keep my contempt to myself, when "believers" keep their mummeries to themselves. The home, the heart and the house of worship is where ALL religions belong. If they don't waddle outside of that sphere, I have no quarrel with them. Almost none do, and THAT is the real problem.

    Oh, and guess what, @Emelia? Many atheists DO hate guns. Probably most of them. I'm sure you aren't implying that you have to be religious to hate guns – are you? I think you know you'd be in trouble if you had to prove something like that. Especially when the statistics already prove it's a lie. Doesn't your own religion tell you that lying is a sin? You try to blame atheists for anything you can possibly lay on them, and you do it to cover up for the fact that people "of faith" are the major cause of the gun problem. Your comment doesn't come out in the wash, dearie.

    December 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Gerry

      "The real conflict here is in regard to the scriptures believed in, not the fact of a God's existence."

      With God being real, the Bible is just another ancient book. It's belief in a God who dictated the rule of the Bible that gives it any authority over people today. So, discounting the existence of God invalidates whatever the Bible has to say in this, and any other matter, correct?

      December 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Bibletruth

      doalittlehomework
      Actually it is not hard to prove to the human mind that God exists and that the true and only God is the God of the bible-old and new testaments together. God uses a device (a method) to prove He is God. He even declares that by this method you will know He is the true God. By the way it is the bible and the bible only that uses the method and no human mind can deny it. They can of course reject, but they cannot deny. That is why the rejecting is so evil. By the way, it is equally as evil in God's sight to coerce one or force one to "accept". Gods infallible method still comes with a "whosoever will". No other "scriptures, traditions, etc. use the method...simply because they cant for it is a method only the true God can possibly use. Get into the scriptures with a mindset that desires truth and would accept truth if recognized and you will know.....no matter how "honestly" sceptical or unbelieving you may be now.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  3. areukiddnme

    The bible is not unclear about 'weapons' at all. You say you're a Christian? And you want to know about a certain question that relates to you and the world insofar as you being a Christian? Well, then what are you? A "Christian"? So, then read the bible you say is unclear about guns.. because the bible is very clear about Jesus Christ. So, did Jesus carry a weapon?

    Matthew 26:52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

    REPENT! You who say "I am a Christian" and then say "guns are okay with Jesus"- don't be a hypocrite.

    December 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  4. john1801rambo

    just question over this why in the UK is the death toll from guns so much lower than the US? what might have been appropriate in the days of the "wild west" – is this still so in the 21st century?

    December 30, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Lou

      The "Wild West" of Hollywood, maybe, but that's hardly historically accurate, now is it?

      December 30, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  5. Frederick1337

    Actually. The bible does present an opinion about weaponization. If you look closely at chronicles 21, you will notice that Satan entices David to number Israel, all who draw the sword actually, and it is a great sin. Correct interpretation and research would also reveal that the LORD never told the Israelites that they could disarm and in fact that is why it is such a great sin, because they had numbered their troops and civilians were not carrying sword and longer, which meant the enemy could also gain such an accurate accounting of all whom drew the sword, and through this methodology, gain control militarily of the disarmed Israelite civilians, effectively re-enslaving them. None too bright was David in this endeavor, though the Hebrew man Satan does entice him, it does not say he did so without the LORD'S permission.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Gerry

      Once again, ANYTHING can be justified with just the right Bible verse, and what is called "proper interpretation."

      December 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Athy

      That's why the religiots like the bible. It can support any position they want it to by using the appropriate interpretation.

      December 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  6. Rich

    @Bob...all you can say, Bob, is that YOU find no evidence for the existence of God. Others see with different eyes. Ultimately, there is no proof! That is why we call it faith!

    December 30, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • niknak

      Well, then if you have proof then let's see it.
      If it can't be proven, then it is considered to be false.
      Just because you "believe" it to be true does not make it true.
      Go ahead and waste your time believing in your fairy tale, just stop trying to force it on us.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Niknak

      "If it can't be proven, then it is considered to be false."

      That's an absurd statement and everytime an atheist says garbage like this is just reinforces the positions of whatever god-believer is talking. I don't believe in a god or gods and have not seen anything I would consider 'evidence' but I'm with Rich here. You can't "prove" you existed 10 seconds ago. Does that make it false?

      December 30, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Gerry

      niknak
      Lack of proof does not make anything false, it just makes a thing mere speculation, that's all.

      December 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • doabitofhomework

      There's faith, and then there's "faith." I have faith that I will probably wake up tomorrow. I have faith that the food I'll eat tonight won't have microbes that will make me sick. I have faith, too, that more children will be massacred in gun-toting America.

      What I do NOT have faith in is that some writings, written by old men 2000+ years ago, are the words of god. No authors' names are given. Nobody knows whether one person, or a group, wrote those things. Nobody claims, outright, in the Old Testament to be speaking for god.

      Those scriptures do speak of righteousness, and claim it is the Lord's righteousness. But they don't claim that that Lord spoke to them and TOLD them it was righteous. It is just assumed. You choose to believe it is. I don't.

      So...some old men, living two millennia ago, whose ignorance by today's standards was towering, and who wrote about god without putting their own names to it, but demanded that those words be believed, notwithstanding, have collectively written a book we call the "Bible," and we're all supposed to bow down and believe it. We have even assigned credit to those writings so we will believe the words are those of god, not of the old men. Yet the ignorance of the old men existed, but a real god would not be ignorant, even a little bit. So the ignorance revealed by those "scriptures" proclaims their human origin, and disproves any hint of origin from a god.

      It isn't your belief in god that you are calling "faith." It's your belief in those ancient writings that form the entire basis of your beliefs. And those writings have proven, often, to be riddled with human flaws and contradictions. To believe them to be the words of a deity is to believe in what humans wrote, not what the deity wrote. That is faith, of course, but what is the wisdom of it?

      You can believe something till you're blue, but it won't change what really IS real. People believed for many centuries that the world was flat. Their belief didn't succeed in unrounding the world by a hair. Believing in a thing doesn't make it so.

      But if you want to believe, go ahead. Just keep it out of other peoples' faces, and out of politics, and you can enjoy your beliefs in complete peace. Push them on others, and you WILL get grief for it. Your beliefs are yours, and yours alone. Together, of course, with others who believe the same stuff. That's fine. Keep it there, and all will be well. You have the right to believe the world is flat, if it pleases you. But don't try to push your faith in a flat world on me, or anyone else. That's leaving the realm of your religious liberties and entering the world of harassment. Using YOUR rights to romp and stomp on MINE. That's crossing a big, fat red line, chum.

      December 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Bibletruth

      Actually not to Rich but to Athy above

      The bible studied correctly, letting every verse from Genesis to Revelation related to a given subject have its say in its context, results in very little controversy..sometimes a lot of discomfort, even rejecton, but not controversy in the sense, " no it really means this, etc" , because the scripture explaining scripture method (again allowing every verse in all the scriptures on that subject its witness) resolves the disagreements. The real problem is not the scriptures, but the desire to support a prebelieved position or the position of my "church or group". There is immense dishonesty of purpose with very many in the various groups...that is, there is very little ...very few.. that actually want the truth and have a heart to follow God, regardless . Please everbody, understand that the "ya but" religion is a false religion.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Bibletruth

      Now, even you know that's silly. If it worked like that, all bible believers would agree, and furthermore, it would be the most believed book in the world. It'd be more popular than math or chemistry. LOL!

      December 30, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  7. Bob

    Present verifiable evidence for your god. No one has ever managed to do that, after hundreds of years of wild claims of talking snakes, virgin birth, and rising from the dead, as well as the brutal tales of vicious, vindictive, bible god.

    Christians, get on it: Put up or shut up already.

    December 30, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  8. Emelia

    Wouldn't it be great if atheists hated guns?

    December 30, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • lol??

      Guns are an extension of their belly god. Bullies.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Akira

      Wouldn't it be great if everybody hated guns?
      Scratch that. I don't really hate guns.
      I just hate the destruction of innocents little lives because of the disturbed people behind the guns.

      December 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Gerry

      I've a question: If everyone was a Christian, and dedicated to doing no harm to anyone else, would there be any need for guns then? Peace is when swords are supposed to be beaten into ploughshares, right?

      December 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  9. Paolo

    Most of you sound like whimpering dufasses, crybabying about gun when you should look at the root cause, flamboyant liberalism or liberalism without boundaries. Your mangina's are making you think that by disarming good people the bad ones will also comply. History teaches that when people are disarmed they become slaves. Even Gandhi was against the disarming by the British.

    December 30, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Saraswati

      Someone who's got a developmental disorder and is developing additional mental illness freaks out because his family is looking at insti’tutionalizing him. Yeah, "flamboyant liberalism" was really at play here. Have you even been following this story? Do you even know who was responsible for dismantling the mental health systems that were in place until the 1980s? Who encouraged a climate in which a woman would own 5 guns to which her troubled child would have access?

      December 30, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Akira

      I have, Saraswati.
      I know precisely what you are referring to...and Paolo? It wasn't a liberal who did that, although I could label him 'flamboyant."

      December 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Gerry

      The American "people" still have the mightiest military force the earth has ever seen protecting them, in case you haven't noticed? If you want a gun to protect you from THAT, then you are living in a dreamworld.

      December 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  10. Bob

    It's time for evangelicals to stop being evangelicals. The world would generally be better off without their bullsh-t.

    December 30, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • lol??

      Here's your wish, kathy. Psychopathic sociopathic bullies.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Gerry

      It's the psychopathic sociopathic bullies that we're talking about, LOL. In Jesus' time he called them Pharisees.

      December 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  11. Kathy

    You know, this author wrote a thoughtful, balanced article, but many of the "comments" I have read so far are short on substance and heavy on cynicism. I wholeheartedly agree with him about the danger of Christians so vehemently aligning themselves with the gun culture. A friend of mine tweeted "I love Jesus and guns" a couple of years ago, and I wondered what kind of message that gives to people who are genuinely searching for a God they can believe in. It's time for prayerful hearts and a reasoned discussion, not more sarcasm.

    December 30, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Bob

      Kathy, search for answers instead of for god. That'll get you started and you'll realize that there's no evidence for Christian god.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  12. Emelia

    It's time for atheists to speak up about guns. What do you boys think about it?

    December 30, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • lol??

      see above, "Here's your wish, emelia, Psychopathic sociopathic bullies."

      December 30, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • saggyroy

      Atheists don't have a heaven to die for.

      December 30, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Ed

      Hypocrites. Who is going to protect my family? You with your immaculate soul? You want to be a martyr? go ahead but stop judging others. I'm pretty sure that's not very christian.

      Want to really help? Reach out and help a mentally ill person.

      January 1, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  13. lol??

    Christians are about family They pray to the Father. Abraham was about family. Sodom and Gomorrah was about mob rule AKA demobocracy, and leftist. The war is actually against spiritual Israel, AKA the bride, and the Christians are on the verge of being slaughtered. A great number are deluded and think a "rapture" will save them from the first death. Destroy the Masters' families and the Servants rule. The LEFT knows this. The Right in their greed was oblivious to it. Banana republic here she goes like it or not.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Evolved One

      Okay.....have another drink.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • lol??

      pleased to meet you, I have guessed your name.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  14. Happy

    For everyone that HEARS g-od have it be your DENTIST and have it take out your wisdom teeth and let us know how it went...
    Read this the other day here is whats good about science is it is the truth no matter if you believe it or not !

    December 30, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  15. Reality

    As noted previously:

    Thomas Jefferson did not know the meaning of 911, video cameras, dead bolt locks, home and car security systems, tasers, pepper sprays, silent alarms, and gps, We don't need assault weapons to keep us safe. And there is a reason we don't allow guns on airplanes.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    December 30, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  16. Phillip Rinaca

    Long ago there was a terrible crime not so far from my home town; I've carried a firearm since. It was 1958 around Louisa, Va. A horrible man captured a man, his wife and two children. He murdered two in Va. and the other two in another state; the criminal did horrible things to the entire family before killing them. My right to own a firearm and carry are rights I will not give up. Firearms don't kill, criminals do,

    December 30, 2012 at 6:11 am |
    • Saraswati

      Criminals with high powered firearms kill more. And idiots who keep more guns than they need lying around to be stolen by gangs kill even more. And the people who sell their guns through loopholes that don't require background checks have yet more. I'm all for allowing you your gun. I'm not for allowing you a collection of 20 or allowing gang members to freely arm their buddies while posing as collectors.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  17. The Engineer

    It's not an apples to oranges comparison. It is pointing how dangerous the modern world is. There many lethal items everywhere. It is far better that some individual intent to do evil shoot a few dozen people than blowup a few hundred with an improvised fuel air bomb. Or worse.

    The worse atrocities are committed by governments against their own citizens. Consider what the democratically elected government of Germany did to millions of its own citizens in the 1940's. I wonder how many mothers with their children at their feet in the gas chambers, knowing they were all going to die, wished they had had a submachine gun when the government authorities came to get them.

    December 30, 2012 at 6:05 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Don't you think that if the gov't wants to take us out or otherwise harm us, they would have enough intelligence to do it in a way not susceptible to private arms? Do you really think a few bullets are going to stop your gov't from doing whatever they want to you and your family? Please.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  18. testsparky

    I'm a Christian who does NOT need to own a gun. God granted me life and can take it any moment. I'M NOT AFRAID TO DIE My best weapon so far has been claiming the promise of Psalm 91.
    Psalm 91
    1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
    2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

    3 Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
    4 He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
    5 You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
    6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
    7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
    8 You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.
    9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
    10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
    11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
    12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
    13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
    14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
    15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
    16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

    December 30, 2012 at 5:50 am |
    • Stacy

      that God that you are referring to - i guess for some mystical reason only Gods can know - ALLOWED innocent children to be SLAUGHTERED just recently....(you write) "10. no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;"
      ......where was the children's PROTECTION???? i guess this GOD you refer to was BUSY with something else.

      December 30, 2012 at 6:30 am |
      • testsparky

        Those children are definitely in heaven – No one can enter the kingdom of God if they do not become like children. But I believe that if there is not enough prayer and constant supplication within families and homes evil can take over such as this unfortunate incident.

        December 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • reasonable

      I am not religious and I understand someone had to fight and die themselves for my right to own a gun.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • doabitofhomework

      Let's get this straight, then. You're saying that plague only harms unbelievers, right? Then how is it that many believers have died of plagues, and that many more will do so in future plagues? Have you, yourself, as a believer, never become sick?

      And the best part is the part where you are supposed to assume that anyone who doesn't get your god's protection was harmed or killed because they weren't pious enough? So they deserved being harmed or killed? ARE you able to believe that believers will always go unscathed in this world? ARE you able to believe that those who DO get harmed are either unbelievers or profound sinners?

      By your quoted scripture, it means those 20 children and 6 adults all DESERVED what they got. How can you even pretend to feel compassion for them?

      What kind of sick mind can buy into such evil thoughts?

      And I do mean evil, even though I'm an atheist. Evil IS real in this world, but is not defined correctly in anybody's scriptures. Which makes it all the easier for some "believers" to commit horrific evils.

      I don't have any scripture that I can use to justify doing evil. So I don't do any evil.

      I don't have any scripture that tells me those people in Sandy Hook weren't pious enough and DESERVED their fate – so I can feel profound compassion for them, without any need for being judgmental.

      I don't need either a god or any scripture to feel love. It comes naturally. But I have contempt for those who claim to be loving, yet believe those 20 babies deserved to be shot.

      December 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  19. James

    I live in a region where guns are used responsibly and are in every household, locked up. The citizens of all surrounding towns use them for hunting, protection, and recreation, they hold safety to the highest standard, even accidentally pointing it at someone while picking it up will result in immediate punishment from parents, and they are locked away after use. They own every kind of gun you can imagine, and yet we have never had any trouble, we didn't do any wrong, don't punish us for what we didn't do,

    December 30, 2012 at 5:30 am |
    • Saraswati

      I lived in a similar region for about 4 years. Within one week I knew 2 people who had their whole locked collections stolen ... no doubt arming 20 or more criminals. I'm happy for law abiding citizens with clean records to have a gun or two, but there need to be limits, and the NRA is way out of hand.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • cwcw

      is your town Newton? perhaps you are living in a fantasy of your own making

      December 30, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  20. The Engineer

    There is a far more destructive device than guns the Evangelics need to worry about. It can be used devastate almost any elementary school in the US and Europe. This is a car with a bunch of full gasoline cans in it with the lids off. All any individual intent to do evil needs to do than is to drive up into the child pick up area with all the other parents, and than strike a match. Instant explosion, inferno, and mass carnage. The Evangelicals really need to demand a ban of gasoline. It is just too destructive, too cheap, and too readily available for the good of society.

    Hopefully this sarcasm puts into perspective that guns aren't the problem. Individuals intent on evil are the problem. There are too many ways to do evil, most of which are much more efficient than using a gun.

    December 30, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • Jose

      We need cars and gasoline for transportation, commerce, work, family activities, etc. Guns' only purpose is to kill. Using oranges and apples analogies as red herrings only adds to the belief that the NRA and the gun worshipers truly are not thinking this seriously nor have sensible, realistic, reasonable, practical and feasible solutions to gun violence but rather fallacies and incorrect assumptions.

      December 30, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • Damocles

      @Jose

      In all honesty we could go back to horses and wind driven ships and foot power. Nothing brings a family together like walking 500 miles to their vacation destination.

      December 30, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • NClaw441

      Jose- A gun can, and has often, serve its purpose without ever being fired. Many bank robberies are committed using a gun, but no shots are fired, and many, many criminals have surrendered when police (and yes, private citizens) have had a gun aimed at them. Guns were used and no one was killed.

      Guns can be protection from the criminal element the same way a coat is a protection from the cold. Now, some do believe that no action should be taken against those who would harm us. These people believe not only should guns not be used for self-defense, but neither should our fists, or, perhaps even our feet, to run away. I respect their views, but I disagree.

      December 30, 2012 at 6:54 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.