Saturday, January 12, 2013

Only in America: God and guns

An article in today's New York Times described a general rush on gun and ammunition sales post-Sandy Hook, a rush that was already underway post-Obama's re-election. This rush can be interpreted as: liberal in power, better stock up before they tighten the law on gun sales; or the more disturbing but less readily articulated, black man in power better get me a gun.

Among the hoards frantically attempting to buy up big at the tiny counter of a gun shop near Atlanta was a pastor from Knoxville, Tennessee. A man of the cloth. A man of God. A follower of Jesus. Rushing out to buy a gun. 

And a few paragraphs later we meet an Iraqi war veteran who had just sold his semiautomatic for three times the usual price - $1700 - and who was determined not to feel bad about this post-Sandy Hook windfall. He would be using the money to pay for dental work, a new computer and his first year of Bible College. 

God and guns. Only in America do they seem to go together like love and marriage, a horse and carriage.

I don't get it. I never will. I am not a believer but I was raised Catholic and sat through endless sermons during thirteen years of religious school and not once do I recall hearing anything from a pulpit that indicated that the Jesus man that so many gun lovers purport to follow would be a signed up member of the NRA, an owner of any kind of weapon let alone a semiautomatic.

And then there is the thought that guns and gun culture are in and of themselves a religion to many in the US, an article of faith that is just as resistant to facts and analysis as traditional religion but a whole lot scarier.

Gun culture. It's as American as apple pie but a whole lot more difficult to to digest.


  1. I am a liberal but support the right to bear arms. I also support legislation that ensures that only responsible gun owners can own them. I think the association between God and guns isn't a direct one and probably isn't worth looking at as such. I'm sure there are many other aspects of conservative thinking that may better account for the connection.

    The reason I don't own a gun is because they scare me. But if tomorrow there came need for a revolution, I understand that my fists would be woefully underpowered on a battlefield. Many gun owners own guns because of a healthy skepticism of government. That was the basis of the 2nd Amendment in the first place. I can respect that.

    1. I see your point re god and guns. Maybe I drew a long bow there although I do think there are connections between the conservative Christians and the gun rights lobby; you are right that there are other areas of conservative thought where the connection is more obvious.

      Guns scare me too. And not just in the hands of the officially mentally ill or criminal. I think we are all capable in the right (wrong) circumstances of doing great harm to ourselves or others with a gun in our hands.

      I do understand the origins of the 2nd amendment. I don't believe that they in any way justify the easy access to guns and tragic results we see today in America.