Few things are thought of as more American than guns and Bibles. In fact, it seems that guns and Bibles increasingly go hand-in-hand these days. Some evangelicals, however, don’t see guns and Bibles as the be-all and end-all of patriotism (and really, it’s not – these right-wingers are more jingoistic than they are patriotic). Reverend Doctor Chuck Currie is one such Christian, and he wants people of faith to stand by President Obama in the new year as he works to enact some sensible gun regulations.
Rev. Currie warns us, in an article in The Huffington Post, that the NRA is already working with the GOP in Congress to block or undermine anything Obama can come up with on that front. However, he doesn’t just blast these Christians for being idiotic in their support of the NRA. He actually has a faith-based argument against it. Those ‘Christians,’ Currie says, worship the false idol of guns.
Currie quotes noted historian Garry Willis, who said after the Sandy Hook tragedy:
Few crimes are more harshly forbidden in the Old Testament than sacrifice to the god Moloch (for which see Leviticus 18.21, 20.1-5). The sacrifice referred to was of living children consumed in the fires of offering to Moloch. Ever since then, worship of Moloch has been the sign of a deeply degraded culture.
The gun is our Moloch. We sacrifice children to him daily–sometimes, as at Sandy Hook, by directly throwing them into the fire-hose of bullets from our protected private killing machines, sometimes by blighting our children’s lives by the death of a parent, a schoolmate, a teacher, a protector. Sometimes this is done by mass killings, sometimes by private offerings to the god.
The NRA, and its supporters, like to imply that constant massacres are the price of freedom. That is an absolutely obscene price to pay for freedom, and is actually not freedom at all. What’s free about worrying whether you or your loved ones are going to walk out of a movie theater alive? What’s free about being afraid to send your children to school for fear that they’ll get shot by some nut?
And why is this idea that freedom equals guns, when we’ve seen that more guns equals more gun violence, so pervasive among Christians? There are actually several possibilities. Many see the 2nd Amendment as being approved by their god. Another reason is the idea that gun violence is the result of evil and moral failings, and not a consequence of ever-easier access to guns. That’s where the argument that turning back to our allegedly “Christian” roots will solve gun violence comes from.
There’s also the fear of the slippery slope. If we curb the right to bear arms in any way, what other rights are going to be curbed? Freedom of religion? The religious right is terrified that various forms of equality are eroding their right to practice Christianity as they see fit. It’s possible that they see an erosion of gun rights as a gateway to further erosion of their religious supremacy here.
They also think the right to self-defense is a biblical value, and could be why they cling so hard to the idea that most guns are used for self-defense, rather than violent crime.
Whatever the reason, whether it’s a combination of these, or something else entirely, right-wing evangelicals in this country do worship guns. It’s hard to reconcile their pro-life stance, and their stance that Christianity is a religion of love and peace, with their worship of guns, though. However, Rev. Currie also says:
Upset at my support for sensible measures to prevent gun violence, a husband and wife tweeted me their anger a few days ago. They both claim to be Christians, God-fearing, gun-toting, patriotic Americans. In truth, they are religious extremists who worship Moloch. They have abandoned God and are not even aware. These are the new disciples of the NRA.
The NRA speaks for Moloch as Jesus speaks for God. What the NRA desires is a nation filled with even more guns to keep gun and bullet manufacturers well fed at that other false idol we too often worship: money.
There it is, right there. The NRA gets a lot of money from gun manufacturers, and they’ve become corrupt and greedy because of it. If they still promoted gun safety and responsible ownership, it could lead to fewer people buying guns. Of course, there is no manufacturer that’s okay with fewer people buying their goods, and the gun manufacturers are certainly no exception. Our lax gun laws are a gold mine for the gun manufacturers, and they know it. They’ve bought the NRA to shill for them, and the NRA does so with glee. The religious right supports them wholeheartedly.
Rev. Currie ends his piece by saying that Obama alone can’t stop the scourge of gun violence that lives upon us. Certainly “moar gunz” isn’t the answer, because if it were, we’d be the safest country in the world with a virtually nonexistent crime rate. Currie calls on his fellow Christians to do the following:
Right now that means standing with President Obama as he works to reduce gun violence. It also means that religious leaders must stand up against the NRA and their disciples as we ask Americans to decide between God and the NRA’s Moloch.
Considering that a majority of people in this country still identify as Christian, Currie is right in that it’s time to put aside this bizarre three-way marriage between guns, patriotism and Christianity. The Christians that don’t are Christians in name only.