We can change. It’s happened before on grand scales. A whole nation can find itself at a tipping point, and then move en masse in a new direction.
A few infamous occasions come to mind.
One person puts poison in Tylenol bottles, murdering several people, and then the whole packaging industry gets new regulations about safety seals. And it works, sometimes too well even for innocent items like CDs!
Another person puts a bomb in his shoe, fails to detonate it, but hundreds of millions of people are suddenly willing to take their shoes off at airport check-ins.
Another person fails with an underwear bomb, but those same hundreds of millions of travelers suddenly are willing to stand in machines that reveal body parts in ways only a mother used to see.
Sudden, widespread and willing change can and does happen, all for the sake of our safety and the safety of others.
Which brings us to gun-safety laws. After more than 30 years of lobbying by the National Rifle Association to restrict or abolish reasonable and constitutional actions to limit and track gun sales to civilians, the tragic destruction of innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., may finally prove to be the tipping point of change for us as a nation.
Oddly enough, it remains an uphill battle, yet one that may finally have not only the attention but the support of the majority of Americans who realize the Second Amendment right to possess and bear arms is not unconditional.
My pastoral concern centers on the huge numbers of Christians who, as yet, so vociferously defend the possession and use of assault-type weapons and the stockpiling of ammunition for defense against home invasion and the perceived risk of tyranny.
It is an odd stance to take for those who embrace the love and teachings of Jesus.
In place of his call to love and pray for enemies, turn the cheek and lay down one’s life, rather than take the life of another, many Christians seem to rather follow the teachings of the NRA, wherein every person, every school and institution, every street corner, should be guarded by weaponry, every threat shot dead.
Love of guns takes the place of love of neighbors.
Laying down one’s life gets replaced by the call to slay the life of others under a deadly hail of gunfire.
The rabid language and fervor to defend the purchase of more guns by citizens and by Christians is strikingly unfaithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We can change.
Perhaps Christians could finally choose to lead the way, rather than go astray.Matters of Faith columnist Kim Latterell can be reached by email at creatorpastor@ comcast.net.