The world grieves with the people of Newton, Connecticut tonight.I was picking up my 6 year old daughter from a school disco tonight when I heard the news that most of the victims were aged between 5 and 10 years old. Its hard to imagine what parents and children are going through right now. We pray for comfort for those who mourn and for peace for those who witnessed first hand these terrible events. We pray as President Obama said quoting Psalm 147 in his national broadcast tonight for God to “bind up the brokenhearted.”
But what will be the church’s response to this tragedy ? I must admit that as someone looking in from the outside I cannot understand what my brothers and sisters in many US churches believe about the importance of being able to own and carry guns. Indeed some Christians argue that after such tragic events as the ones we have seen today we need guns more than ever:
Tragic mass murders in which a lone gunman can hold at bay an entire restaurant or church full of people, for example, and begin killing one after the other, are much less likely to happen in states where a large number of people carry concealed weapons and would act to stop such a person.
Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible
When I have tried to engage in debate with brothers and sisters about the other side of the story – there is often a lot of very strong language used, accusations of not understanding the situation, being anti american and the like. I would love to see my conservative evangelical brothers and sisters in the states engage in a global conversation about gun control. We benefit greatly from their insight into our cultural life it would be great to be able to return the favour.
Today I was struck by the words of Mayor Bloomberg of New York who said:
Not even kindergarteners learning their A,B,Cs are safe. We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again. For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year olds. President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for ‘meaningful action’ is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response. My deepest sympathies are with the families of all those affected, and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever.
Come on church lets be at the leading edge of a drive to protect life by doing something about the guns as we long for the day when:
He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.