Gun Control, Jesus, and the Family

_Full_candle_Candle_light_4010In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown Connecticut, I have been overwhelmed at amount of discussion on gun control and the courage of human beings to severely attack Barack Obama for trying to “take away their guns.” Let us be clear – Obama is trying to ban assault weapons and make it more difficult for people to get a registered handgun or other type of firearm. For all those who are freaking out: Obama is not going to come into your house and take the guns out of your closet or gun safe. You will still be able to shoot your deer and protect yourself. Calm down. I find it funny that it was harder for me to get my marriage licenses than it would be for me to buy a semi-automatic rifle; the last time I checked, my wife is not a deadly weapon that could be used to kill innocent people (please forgo the jokes).

Also, I have yet to hear anyone in Sandy Hook come out and advocate against stricter gun control laws. What’s more, no pro-gun rights senators would go on major broadcasting networks and discuss their opinions this week. This silence is important and Americans should pay attention to how the people closest to the tragedy are reacting. The majority of the people speaking out against gun control have nothing to do with the victims and are just separated enough from the massacre to post pro-gun Facebook statuses and such, while still seeming to have bit of grief for the victims. What they are really saying is, “ I am sad for these people, but this has nothing to do with me and my guns, so keep your hands off them. I am not saying these are not genuine people and statues; the fact that I am writing this post shows that I am, in some way, separated enough to comment on this tragedy myself. Does this situation have nothing to do with you and I?

The immediate families and friends of these children, I suspect, have a very different view on gun control post-Sandy Hook. Why is this? We state our opinions and try to be objective, but I am sure in Sandy Hook today there are few objective people. If anything, we need a little more subjectivity and personal interaction with political issues these days.

I am reminded of The Gospel of Matthew’s account of Jesus speaking about family. While Jesus is inside of a house, some people come to him and tell him his mother and brothers are outside and want to talk to him. Jesus answers,  “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” This is a dynamic family model Jesus is speaking of.

Christianity gives us the unique opportunity to treat others like they are a part of our own family, even when they are a different race, nationality, or we down right hate them. What this implicates is that those very kids who were massacred were our own kids; the parents who are mourning today in Connecticut are our mothers, fathers, and grandparents. There is no objectivity along these lines. If Christians would take the words of Christ seriously, if people would realize that Jesus destroys an objective view of the family, then, I believe some of us would have a very different view on gun control considering it was your own kids who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In Christ, our immediate family is stretched out to all people. So in some mysterious way, we should experience this tragedy as if it happened in our own towns, in our own households. For sure, we have to be sensitive when talking like this, because God only knows that the pain those Newtown parents and family members are feeling is unimaginable to me. But we also have to admit that something transformative happens when we are brought under Christ’s spirit.

We now have the unique opportunity discuss these issues in a serious manner, taking into account all of the pain and loss in the last year. I cannot expect people to let go of their opinions and pro-gun rights rants, but I do believe that Christianity beckons us to remember that when we talk about the people who were murdered at Sandy Hook, we are talking about our own children, friends, and relatives.

And for those who use the ever-so popular argument, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” you are right: Guns don’t kill people. Guns kill your children and your mothers and your brothers.