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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 • Guns

soundoff (2,819 Responses)
  1. saggyroy

    I thought evangelicals were mostly pro-life and turn the other cheek and all that....I guess this article shows why the pro-lifers never protest in front of a gun shop.

    January 4, 2013 at 6:19 am |
    • General America

      Excellent point, saggy.

      January 4, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  2. Gregory Lewis

    How many people did Jesus kill? You can't be a follower of Christ and also believe that more guns and more violence is a good thing.

    January 4, 2013 at 2:16 am |
  3. The original Reggie

    Was Jesus liberal or conservative? Was He pro government or anti government? (Give onto Cesar what is Cesar) Would he had own a weapon or oppose gun ownership. Or was He someone who saw through the labels used to brand people and judged the heart?
    I’m not concerned about labels or political believes. I want good people to come together to fix this problem of sick people killing large numbers of innocence. I'm not ready to say that my country is in such a state that the only way we can keep our kids safe is by arming teachers or having non-professional untrained people carrying weapons to protect them (Sorry weapon manufactures). I believe we can find common ground, if we put the politics aside and put our kid’s safety first.

    January 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • Saraswati

      It wouldn't make sense if arming teachers were the only answer. We have a murder rate several times higher than most other countries with a similar GDP and education level. Those countries get by without arming teachers...why on earth would the US think the was the answer? I think the answer lies in the fact that so many here are totally ignorant of life outside our borders.

      January 3, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  4. Cal

    Anyboby else think Bill Deacon flies a confederate flag?

    January 3, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • saggyroy

      Yeah, at his Bible-Gun camp for boys ages 6 – 11.

      January 4, 2013 at 6:20 am |
    • General America

      Bill Dumbkin is definitely dangerously deluded.

      January 4, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Describe the delusion please

      January 4, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • LinCA

      @Bill Deacon

      You said, "Describe the delusion please"
      Belief in imaginary beings. What else would you call the affliction if an adult still believes in the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny?

      January 4, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Hey Billy

      Bill Deacon
      The delusion being that you believe in a mythical god that will forgive all your sins and allow into a place of paradise when you die. Well if you are right you will be in good company with every greedy, murdering, child molesting member of the RCC clergy, enjoy.

      January 4, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  5. Bill Deacon

    Long time Anti-Gun Advocate State Senator R.C. Soles, 74, shot one of two intruders at his home just outside Tabor City , N.C. about 5 p.m. Sunday, the prosecutor for the politician's home county said. The intruder, Kyle Blackburn, was taken to a South Carolina hospital, but the injuries were not reported to be life-threatening, according to Rex Gore, district attorney for Columbus, Bladen and Brunswick counties..

    January 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Will you actually be answering my question posed below, or do you plan on continuing to post irrelevant idiocy all day?

      January 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      What is it that makes you feel you have the right to demand an answer to every question your mind poses?

      January 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      What makes you think no one will question you? It's a public forum. Don't answer if you don't want, but don't expect to be able to spout whatever you want without challenge.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hawaii, do you believe some individual citizens have the right to self protection while advocating the removal of that right from others?

      January 3, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      What no answers to my two questions? Don't like to be challenged i guess. It's easier to tear down than to build up Hawaii. Something you may never have learned.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      We already have that. Felons have their 2nd amendment rights completely removed.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      I don't demand answers, but if your not going to answer, at least be honest about it instead of giving non-answers or just running from the thread.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Then why do we need further regulation? I'm not a felon. I have the right to self protection. Not because the second amendment say so but because I am a free man. The second amendment is just there to keep fascist from stripping that right away from me.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And do you feel that 100 round drums for assult rifles is necessary to "protect" yourself?

      January 3, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Also, if you want to talk regulation, you do realize that any felon can go to a gun show and get a gun, even though they cannot legally have one? Right now, we can have a person convicted of attempted murder, armed robbery, or any kind of gun related crime just go to a gun show and pick up a gun. No background, no waiting period, no nothing. Do you really think they're getting a gun to "protect" themselves? Maybe protect themselves from running out of money, that gun sure helps with that I imagine.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      IN that scenario the felon is already breaking existing law. You haven't made a case for restricting gun ownership. You've made a case for increased enforcement of existing law.

      January 4, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      The Broward County Supervisor of Elections office continued to send absentee ballots this year to a convicted felon who had already pleaded no contest to unlawfully voting in a prior election, public records show.

      The Broward Sheriff’s Office uncovered evidence Francis Bellanger cast an illegal vote in a March 2011 municipal election. Lisa Duke, wife of Dania Beach Commissioner Walter Duke, hand delivered Bellanger’s absentee ballot, along with ballots filled out by four other felons and a dead woman. Ms. Duke, the campaign manager for a Dania Beach candidate, delivered over 400 absentee ballots in all.

      Hawaii, since there are people who are violating the felony voting laws do you think that makes a case for tighter voter restrictions?

      January 4, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • hawaiiguest

      Voting restrictions for felons is not a federally regulated thing, and personally I think taking away anyones right to vote is highly unconstitutional. Within the statutes of Florida, maybe they should not so much increase restrictions, but actually do a good job of keeping registration records. Sounds more like incompetence on the registry side.

      January 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      By the way, do you have a source link for your accusations?

      January 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • The Truth

      So after several bi-partisan commisions and investigations that came up with "virtually" (less than .5%) no voter fraud, Bill here still wants us to think the liberals are out there padding their rolls because in his mind, thats the only way anyone could vote against republicans.

      I think the problem is the definition of voter fraud which should include:

      1. Falsifying/faking names on voter registration forms (within the .5%)
      2. casting multiple ballots (within the .5%)
      3. falsifying the county/distric you vote in (within the .5%)
      4. Gerrymandering (should be illegal but isn't and accounts for the majority of real voter fraud)
      5. Voter suppression (isn't illegal but should be)
      6. Procedural allotment of voting locations discrimination (not illegal but should be)
      7. Robo calls lying about election times/dates/locations (not illegal but should be)
      8. Mail outs in urban areas with incorrect data specifically designed to mislead and misrepresent poor/elderly
      9. Mail outs/Robo calls designed to intimidate new voters or ethnic voters

      Of those listed, which do you think are likely to actually constltute noticiable voter fraud? The under .5% ones won't have much if any effect on the outcome. So who are the ones really practicing voter fraud? I think the answer is self evident to anyone with a brain who watched the last several elections. I believe a large percent of America can see this and votes for the guy's who do not pull such underhanded tactics in an attempt to win, which is why the Republicans were so stunned when they got destroyed in the last election.

      January 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  6. Bill Deacon

    December 29, 2012 marks the 122nd Anniversary of the murder of 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
    These 297 people, in their winter camp, were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms "for their own safety and protection". The slaughter began AFTER the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms. When the final round had flown, of the 297 dead or dying, two thirds (200) were women and children.

    Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history. It ended in the senseless murder of 297 people.

    January 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Do you have a point? Or do you want to start another thread you can use to hide from the others you're in?

      January 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I just think it is important to remember what our federal government is capable of

      January 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Are you willing to do the same with your religion?

      January 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Guess not.

      January 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      For what purpose? So we can compare body counts? While there is no denying atrocities have been committed in the name of probably every religion, you would quickly have to concede that governments far outstrip religion when it comes to murder.

      But that is not the point. And the point is not who makes the uglier bad guys. The point, as it relates to this article is that the second amendment enumerates the rights of citizens to arm themselves against tyranny within their own government. That very government has a docuumented and long history of systemic attempts to disarm the population.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      So instead of addressing my question, you back away. Congrats.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Here's a question for you. Do you believe the Federal government has the authority to use lethal force against its own citizens without due process?

      January 3, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Your tactic is to continually challenge those you disagree with without ever stating what your intent is. You are purposefully on the offensive while camouflaging the intent of your purposes. It's a common tactic of less honorable sorts.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      A highly complicated question Bill. First, tell me, are you merely looking to pull soundbites to go off on irrelevant things, or are you actually looking for a discussion on that issue?

      January 3, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      How is one person and thier right to own a gun going to protect them from the governement? If we need to take the 2nd amendment literally, then gun ownership should recquire verification that you belong to a well regulated militia.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      No it's not a complicated question you dolt. The answer is that the government does not have the right to use lethal force against it's own citizens without due process.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Oooh getting nasty now Bill.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill Deacon,

      is there an example of citizens defending themselves, not with the application of law, but with firearms, that did not end in the deaths of at least some of those citizens?

      I'm thinking along the lines of:
      – the Whiskey Rebellion (1794) personally led by none other than George Washington
      – the John Brown raid at Harpers Ferry (1859)
      – the Confederate States of America (1861 – 1865)
      – the Bonus Army (1932)
      – the Branch Davidians (1993)

      The notion that citizens need arms to defend themselves from the government is entirely specious, bordering on delusional.

      January 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Sorry, let me clarify ...

      is there an example of citizens defending themselves from the Federal Government ...

      January 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The Bonus Army was the popular name of an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and affiliated groups—who gathered in Washington, D.C., in the spring and summer of 1932 to demand immediate cash-payment redemption of their service certificates. Its organizers called it the Bonus Expeditionary Force to echo the name of World War I's American Expeditionary Force, while the media called it the Bonus March. It was led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant.

      Many of the war veterans had been out of work since the beginning of the Great Depression. The World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924 had awarded them bonuses in the form of certificates they could not redeem until 1945. Each service certificate, issued to a qualified veteran soldier, bore a face value equal to the soldier's promised payment plus compound interest. The principal demand of the Bonus Army was the immediate cash payment of their certificates.

      Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, one of the most popular military figures of the time, visited their camp to back the effort and encourage them.[1] On July 28, U.S. Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the veterans removed from all government property. Washington police met with resistance, shots were fired and two veterans were wounded and later died. Veterans were also shot dead at other locations during the demonstration. President Herbert Hoover then ordered the army to clear the veterans' campsite. Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur commanded the infantry and cavalry supported by six tanks. The Bonus Army marchers with their wives and children were driven out, and their shelters and belongings burned.

      January 4, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      The Whiskey Rebellion, or Whiskey Insurrection, was a tax protest in the United States beginning in 1791, during the presidency of George Washington. Farmers who used their leftover grain and corn in the form of whiskey as a medium of exchange were forced to pay a new tax. The tax was a part of treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton's program to increase central government power, in particular to fund his policy of assuming the war debt of those states which had failed to pay. The farmers who resisted, many war veterans, were fighting for the principles of the American Revolution, in particular against taxation without local representation.
      The Whiskey Rebellion demonstrated that the new national government had the willingness and ability to suppress resistance to its laws. The whiskey excise remained difficult to collect, however. The events contributed to the formation of political parties in the United States, a process already underway. The whiskey tax was repealed after Thomas Jefferson's Republican Party, which opposed Hamilton's Federalist Party, came to power in 1800.

      January 4, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      The Waco siege began on February 28, 1993, and ended violently 50 days later on April 19.[5] The siege began when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), accompanied by several members of the media, attempted to execute a search warrant at Mount Carmel Center ranch, a property of the religious sect Branch Davidians located in the community of Elk, Texas[6][7] nine miles (14 kilometers) east-northeast of Waco, Texas.

      On February 28, shortly after the attempt to serve the warrant, an intense gun battle erupted, lasting nearly two hours. In this armed exchange, four agents and six Branch Davidians were killed. Upon the ATF's failure to execute the search warrant, a siege was initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The siege ended 50 days later when a fire destroyed the compound when a second assault was launched. Seventy-six men, women and children,[8][9] including the sect leader, David Koresh, died in the fire. The Waco siege also has been described as the "Waco massacre."[

      January 4, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      John Brown was the first white man to use violence in an attempt to end slavery. His actions frightened many whites in the South, leading the Southern state militias to begin training for defense against further raids. The South became more militarized in fear of a Northern invasion.[citation needed]

      The first Northern reaction among antislavery advocates to Brown's Raid was one of baffled reproach. William Lloyd Garrison called the raid "misguided, wild, and apparently insane." But through the trial, Brown transformed into a martyr. Henry David Thoreau, in A Plea for Captain John Brown, said, "I think that for once the Sharp's rifles and the revolvers were employed in a righteous cause. The tools were in the hands of one who could use them," and said of Brown, "He has a spark of divinity in him."[12] Though "Harper's Ferry was insane," wrote the religious weekly the Independent, "the controlling motive of his demonstration was sublime

      January 4, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Point being that the federal government has historically used force of arms against our own citizens without due process, for which there is no authorization in the Constiitution. Imagine how our history would be different if right thinking, free men had no ability to dissuade tyranny. It boggles my mind that Americans are willing to abrogate this, freedom, this legacy and this duty that so many have sacrificed fortune and life to assure simply because they feel we have "advanced" beyond the prospect of tyranny.

      January 4, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • General America

      It boggles my mind that Bill Dumbkin can use so many false analogies in one post.

      January 4, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • General America

      "Self protection" does not equate to ready access to rapid loading, rapid firing devices for rapid killing of scores of people.

      It's time to stand up against the false claims of the Bill Deacons and other religio-gun nuts of the world.

      January 4, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • ME II

      "'Self protection' does not equate to ready access to rapid loading, rapid firing devices for rapid killing of scores of people."
      Who says?

      Not that I agree with Bill Deacon, but I think one could argue that a potentially armed populace may act as a deterrent to tyranny, and not just at the federal level.

      January 4, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I'm sorry General but i don not see that I am making analogies at all, much less false ones. Can you elucidate or are falling into hawaii's gambit?

      January 4, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Wow you really have no reading comprehension if you disagree with the person, or you just are that dishonest.
      He said false claims not analogies dumbass.
      I haven't seen any serious discussion about banning all firearms or repealing the second amendment, nor would I or anyone else I know support that. We're talking about common sense restrictions that will limit easy access to weapons that have no other functiion but to mow down mass amounts of people with ease. Your moronic rhetoric doesn't even apply, and your constant Straw Manning of everyone that doesn't agree with you shows the depths of your dishonesty.
      Then again, we haven't come to expect anything less than complete dishonest bullshit from you.

      January 4, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill Deacon

      "Point being that the federal government has historically used force of arms against our own citizens without due process, for which there is no authorization in the Constiitution."

      Which is EXACTLY my point.

      The use of arms by citizens to defend themselves against the actions of Federal Government – ended in their deaths and as far as I can tell has done so, pretty much every time. So what 'liberty' does using arms against the government defend against? It is a worthless exercise in futility. Pragmatically speaking, what's the point?

      January 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @MEII,

      "one could argue that a potentially armed populace may act as a deterrent to tyranny, and not just at the federal level."

      The historical evidence, even since the time and actions of George Washington himself, would suggest that it results only in self-martyrdom. "Death by cop' if you will. On that basis the argument is completely fallacious.

      It is an American myth that we defend our liberty with the 'right to bear arms' (as it is popularly misconstrued).

      January 4, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill Deacon,

      "It boggles my mind that Americans are willing to abrogate this, freedom"

      I am happy to abrogate the freedom to exercise the right of 'suicide by Federal cop'. For that is all it is and all it ever was in 218 years of US history.

      Even before that, the French Navy won the Revolutionary War. The myth of the militia was just that – a myth, thoroughly disproven during the War of 1812.

      January 4, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  7. Socially Responsible

    This pastor is preaching a load. How then should we protect our children from those seeking to do harm if we remove our means of protecting them? The second amendment doesn't call for the right to keep and bear arms to be well regulated, it states "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be INFRINGED. Besides the 2nd amendment doesn't guarantee rights, it enumerates inalienable rights.
    "Some will argue that new restrictions only hurt those who are already law-abiding. This may be so." Seriously? You admit that it may only HURT LAW ABIDING and think thats ok? How idiotic.
    So who are you to determine what is "unnecessarily violent" or "common sense" in terms of restrictions? All firearms do the same thing, they send a projectile through a tube via a controlled explosion, they are the same thing. You don't understand freedom. Christ gives us the freedom to choose Him or not, but the choice is ours. The bible says each man should work out his own salvation with fear and trembling. So maybe you should focus more on spreading the gospel then on spreading your opinion of how the gospel should look in our lives.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • TC

      We protect chidlren by making sure that as many lethal devises as possible are in the hands of other people, even devices that serve no purpose other than to kill large numbers of people at one time with little effort?

      Really?

      January 3, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Socially Responsible

      @TC, yes that's exactly how it is done although your characterization of devices with no other purpose than killing people en mass is presumptive at best. I am a Soldier, that is my profession. When we began experiencing casualties caused by Afghan forces attacking U.S. Soldiers, we didn't make a rule taking away everyone's weapons, we began issuing ammo and directives that everyone carry their weapon ready to shoot.

      January 3, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Saraswati

      So if you can devise a firearm that can kill a million people in a single shot that's just fine with you? If not, you also want restrictions, and it's just a matter of where to draw the line.

      January 4, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Socially Responsible

      SARASWATI, We have a firearm capable of that. Its called a nuclear bomb, or neutron bomb, or atom bomb. Lets stay in the realm of what is, not of what theoretically maybe could be. I have no problem with my neighbor owning fully automatic, belt fed machine guns. For the average citizen the ammunition alone is cost prohibitive, so I'm not worried about that. I worry when anyone wants to say that automatic firearms are dangerous, silencers (suppressors) are dangerous etc. The facts to support action/regulation simply do not exist. Statistically speaking its an outlier, mass murder. So all you hard charging gun control advocates should really stop watching the news (bought and paid for to influence a mentally anemic society) and do some reading.

      January 6, 2013 at 8:56 am |
  8. Reggie

    Oh clever, now I see what CNN is doing here. The Democratic Party's left hand now crafts political propaganda in a self-created vehicle to reach what to liberals has been an impenetrable sector of the population – Evangelical Christians.

    Clever, clever, clever. Now get behind me, CNN.

    January 3, 2013 at 2:33 am |
    • End Religion

      Seeing conspiracies everywhere you look, eh Reggie? Welcome to the religious life of fear.

      January 3, 2013 at 6:37 am |
  9. Maybe this is worth a try

    I'm sure it's not going to resolve anything overnight, but I believe if we push, through the use of media and psychology the idea that the life of our fellow human deserves respect above anything else it will reduce gunfire in general and perhaps the necessity for guns.
    Human kindness, courtesy, polite turns of phrase, focus on one another as a special and unique individual.
    Love and peace.
    It's not a cure all...but it won't hurt.

    January 2, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You're talking about about Christian theology and 33 million Americans already reject that and their numbers are rising.

      January 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  10. Reasonable Man

    I find it hard to believe the pastor is quoting scripture in support of Roman government. Whatever. The so-called "balanced approach" (a new code word that means the exact opposite from what it would seem) sought by the president is most likely going to be all about restricting guns and nothing but study on reigning in Hollywood for the culture of violence.

    January 2, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Reasonable Man, you've made a good point. A case in point is the shooting that took place in the movie theater last year. We love our Hollywood bloodbaths. Movie houses are the very temples of Hollywood blood-fest. How chillingly ironic that a mass murder occured in such a place.

      January 2, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • End Religion

      RM: so you're upset that art which may include depictions of violence will likely not have more controls placed on it, yet weapons that are the direct enabler of mass violence might have more controls placed on it? You find this unbalanced? Wow... I find *you* unbalanced.

      January 3, 2013 at 6:44 am |
  11. Johnny

    We don't blame cars for drunk drivers, why blame guns for violent people !

    January 2, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Julzofwisdom

      We have laws against selling too much alcohol to someone who is drunk. We have laws against selling alcohol to those under 21. We have laws about operating a vehicle while intoxicated. We allow towns to create laws that you can not sell alcohol at all. We have laws requiring anyone operating a vehicle to obtain a drivers license which includes a written test and a driving test. They are required to register their new address every time they move. They are required to register any vehicle they own. They are required to re-register it every year. They are required to follow the speed limit. To come to a complete stop at a stop sign. If they break the law, they are required to pay a fine. If they break the law continuously they can have their license revoked. If you want to make laws on guns as equitable as those on cars, I'm all for it, though it might get a bit tedious for folks to remember them all.

      January 2, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  12. PrimeNumber

    " a culture of fatherlessness ." I think that Mr. Darling has spoken a mouthful. In the past forty years words such as "men" have become dirty. Consider the word "Patriarch" ,which used to mean responsibility and strength. If you sneer and spit out the word, it takes a only a generation to re-engineer the word "patriarch" to mean "oppression" and "priviledge". Today, all the "men" have been reduced to "guys". This was necessary if women were to become men. Roe v. Wade informed us all that a man is a father only at the descretion of the "mother". With this new second-class parent role, no wonder men -er, guys – have abandoned the home. The consequences are all to obvious.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • End Religion

      Why is it important for a man or woman to act a certain way? It seems you feel some personal confusion on the matter.

      January 3, 2013 at 6:49 am |
  13. Barry G.

    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.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Reasonable Man

      Hence the saying, never bring a sword to a gun fight.

      January 2, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  14. Barry G.

    Jesus said to Peter: Put away your sword...Those who live by the sword will perish by the sword.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • End Religion

      Jesus said nothing. He never existed.

      January 3, 2013 at 6:50 am |
  15. Mike Johnson

    The United States is the most Christian nation with the largest incarnation rate. Christian is just a word. It's like a expensive label sown on to a cheap pair of pants. Actions speak louder than words. Most Americans put their trust in guns than in God.

    January 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
  16. Slick

    Funny how guns are the 'boogey man' when there is a horrific accident – and I get it, they are messy, scary to some, and headline grabbers. The bigger problem is our ever more 'progressive' society. Guns have been prevalent in the country since this country was formed, and yet these mass shootings are only a recent phenomenon, which coincides with disintegrating moral values, families, and our society as a whole. Why don't liberals look at the 1.2 MILLION babies aborted yearly in this country (17,000/year in Connecticut, which translates to about 46/day), rather than 11,000 homicide by firearm deaths? Or the 35,000 automobile deaths, or the literally hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by what I call 'fat butt syndrome'? Liberals go out of their way to twist the 1st Amendment to cover all sorts of 'freedoms' in the name of free speech, yet the clear wording in the 2nd isn't good enough... There are bigger issues here than ARs and magazine capacity people...

    January 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Slick, Guns only have one purpose – injury or death. So a comparison with car accidents etc. is irrelevant. Conservatives make a big deal about abortion but do next to nothing about starvation (1000s die a day), car and road safety, drug and alcohol abuse, gun safety, drug safety, food safety, water safety, preventable disease, etc. all of which kill vast numbers of people. Why all the attention on potential life? Especially when the viability of a fertilized egg is less than 50% anyway, why not blame god for that loss of potential life?

      January 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Slick

      Slick, Guns only have one purpose – injury or death. So a comparison with car accidents etc. is irrelevant. Conservatives make a big deal about abortion but do next to nothing about starvation (1000s die a day), car and road safety, drug and alcohol abuse, gun safety, drug safety, food safety, water safety, preventable disease, etc. all of which kill vast numbers of people. Why all the attention on potential life? Especially when the viability of a fertilized egg is less than 50% anyway, why not blame god for that loss of potential life?

      The comparison is not irrelevant, as they are prevalent in our society, and even the most far left liberal can't believe that getting rid of all the guns in the country is a viable option. There are thousands of gun laws on the books already, and yet these killers have the gall to disobey them... More laws and regulations does nothing but further oppress those who follow laws anyway, and the criminals will still break the laws. I must have missed the stats of 1,000s dying in this country daily from starvation, since we are talking about the US and not Africa here. The other causes of death you listed, I agree are a problem and need to be dealt with, but why are they rarely mentioned by either right or left wingers? And a fertilized egg only being viable 50% of the time? This must take into account the immediate fertilization, then subsequent failure of the egg where a woman doesn't even miss her regular period (no abortion going on there), as I've never seen any stats close to that, and from the friends and family that I have, miscarriages are rare – less than 10%. We could blame God, but most liberals don't believe in God, so that seems silly – although right in line with the liberal mindset, blaming others for faults in their lives. People (conservative or liberal) should own up and take responsibility for their own lives and actions, again, something that I think would benefit us all.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • JC

      A blob of tissue or tadpole like embryo is not a baby, any more than that sprouted carrot seed in the garden is a vegetable.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      On their front page today CNN has a video of a blob of tissue grasping a doctors finger in the womb. Looks like a human hand but probably just a clump of cells.

      January 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  17. Ed Daniels

    When will CNN and other "news" organs look at the numbers and ask why the Black community tolerates murder at a far higher rate than any other community? Look at Chicago, where of the 500 murders this year, 450 were young Black men kill other Blacks. The same is true in New Orleans, Baltimore, Houston, DC, Philadelphia and Detroit. It's not the guns – the poor in Hispanic or white or Native American communities do not kill each other at nearly the frequency Blacks do. In fact, if the Black community committed murders at the same rate as other communities, the US rate would be about half what it is today, and not much higher than Belgium or Canada. But NOOOOO – CNN and the other new organs will never ask why people like Obama and Sharpton and other "leaders" have failed to lead their community out of this mess.

    January 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Mike Johnson

      Maybe the violence in the black community can be traced to the violence murder and cruelty whites inflected on blacks during slavery. I know you aren't racist. You just believe violence is endemic to being black.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • NClaw441

      I don't think there is anything inherent in race that creates violent tendencies. But there are cultural differences in many black communities, especially in the inner city, that may account for the atrocious levels of violence. The fact that most living there are black precludes whites from going in and addressing them because whites "ain't got no street cred" whether what they say might have value or not. I think it is a legitimate question to ask why black leaders are not at least trying to do more to address the causes of this violence.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • JC

      Interesting that all the mass murders lately have been caused by white males, then huh?

      January 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  18. Ed Daniels

    NOW the left wants to listen to Evangelicals? Will they listen when Evangelicals demand an end to the 1.3MILLION killed every every so the abortion mills can keep running?

    January 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Mike Johnson

      I took biology. I'm not ignorant. I know the difference between a baby and a fetus. If miscarriages are acts of God; God is the greatest abortionist Not being a loving Christian and being educated, I can't judge a woman who has an abortion. A woman died in Ireland because she was denied an abortion. There are medical reasons for abortions. I won't act like Christian conservatives, calling these women baby killers. I have decency.

      It takes gull for conservatives who cheered on a war that murdered 180,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, many being babies and fetuses aborted by 500 lbs bombs. You value life so little that murdering a few innocent people amounts to little more than breaking a few eggs to cook an omelet.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • JC

      Religious whacko nut cases that place the rights of unborn not yet living beings over the lives and well being of living breathing women. You have as much right to force women to use their bodies to incubate the lives of the unborn as I do to force you to give up your kidney to save the life of another. Tell me when you and every member of your family is ready to give up their kidneys and we can talk about abortion.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  19. USA whatever

    i lost intrest after the first 3 seconds of story. church people shut up 90 percent of america thinks church people are twisted sick fake people

    January 2, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      You mean ninety percent of the people you hang with right?

      January 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  20. Bill Deacon

    Two days after the Newtown shooting a man in San Antonio assaulted his girlfriend at her place of work with a firearm. He followed customers from her resturant into a local theater and began shooting at customers there. It was a replay of Aurora. This time,however, a female, off duty Sheriff's Deputy pulled her personal handgun out and shot the perpetrator, stopping another massacre.

    January 2, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Bill, Most times it doesn't work out that way. The shooter often has the advantage of surprise. In a recent incident in NYC, trained police officers shot and injured bystanders. In the Aurora situation can you imagine the crossfire in the dark from (mainly) untrained gun owners – it would be more carnage – and the perpetrator had full body armor so wouldn't have been taken down easily.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • NClaw441

      Santa, You are correct that the shooter has the advantage, and is likely to hit one or more targets, but another armed person can substantially reduce the carnage, and it has been done many many times. Even if not successful, the presence of an armed third party has not made the situation worse.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Sane Gun owner

      The officer was employed as a security guard at the theater. She employed her handgun in the execution, pun intended, of her duties as a security guard employed by the theater. If you think that this is an example that should be emulated, think about what you are asking for, police officers on every corner with weapons is not the answer. I will not live in a police/nanny state.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • JC

      I can tell you one thing. If you plan on being a vigilante "protector" around me, you better have good insurance, because I'll sue the living pants off of you if I'm injured in the least little bit by your actions. Multiply that by everyone else on location, and you get a good idea of what you're going to face. Do us a favor. Don't do us a favor.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Most states have good samaritan laws that protect people who are trying to help during a catastrophe or accident. I suspect given the right circuumstances and due regard, most situations would end in your case being thrown out of court. Then you could publicly thank your defender for saving you or your child's life.

      January 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
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About this blog

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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.