Different Decade, Same Spirit – Part 2

“In all their troubles, he was troubled, too” (Is. 63:9).

“The work of the prophets in ancient Israel was to deliver a truth-telling, hope-evoking word in a society that wanted neither the truth that was too hard to bear nor hope that was impossible to entertain.” —Walter Brueggemann, Tenacious Solidarity, Biblical Provocations on Race, Religion, Climate, and the Economy

In part 1, I shared my thoughts on the tragic shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde Texas several weeks ago. Twenty-one innocent children and two teachers died. Guns are deeply ingrained in American society and the nation’s political debates.The Second Amendment to the U.S.Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms, and about a third of U.S. adults say they personally own a gun.

I can’t understand how some Americans including politicians and conservative evangelical Christians continue to tolerate the chronic carnage of deaths and injuries from gunfire, particularly among our children and particularly after some of the most deadliest school shootings in recent history: Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007 killing 32 people and injuring dozens; Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 killing 26 people, including 20 first-graders and six adult school staff members; Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018 killing 17 and 17 were injured; and, Santa Fe High School in Texas where 10 people were killed and 14 were injured. These are atrocities that cannot continue to be ignored or dismissed with thoughts and prayers. While it is within our God-given right and power as a nation we can do something.

In 2021, President Joe Biden and other policymakers proposed new restrictions on firearm access in an effort to address gun violence ranging from rising murder rates in some major cities to mass shootings. Pew Research Center identified some key findings about Americans’ attitudes about gun violence, gun policy and other subjects, drawn from recent surveys by Pew Research Center and Gallup.1

Below are some of those findings:

  1. Four-in-ten U.S. adults say they live in a household with a gun, including 30% who say they personally own one.
  2. Personal protection tops the list of reasons why gun owners say they own a firearm. 
  3. Around half of Americans (48%) see gun violence as a very big problem in the country today.
  4. Attitudes about gun violence differ widely by race, ethnicity, party and community type.
  5. Roughly half of Americans (53%) favor stricter gun laws, a decline since 2019.
  6. Americans are divided over whether restricting legal gun ownership would lead to fewer mass shootings.
  7. There is broad partisan agreement on some gun policy proposals, but most are politically divisive.
  8. Gun ownership is closely linked with views on gun policies. This is true even among gun owners and non-owners within the same political party, according to the April 2021 Center survey.
  9. Americans in rural areas typically favor more expansive gun access, while Americans in urban places prefer more restrictive policies.

I’m not against gun ownership. It behooves me why anyone needs an AR-15 rifle, the mass shooter’s weapon of choice. What fascinates me the most is that in spite of the horrific deaths that have occurred due to gun violence there are those who appear to place a greater value on gun ownership rights than on the innocent lives that have been lost due to gun violence.

I continue to refer back to President George Washington’s prophetic warning in his farewell address offering his advice to the citizens of the United States. His key points were to warn Americans against the danger of political parties, to remain neutral in foreign conflicts and to celebrate their achievements. Washington warned the American people against the negative impact that opposing political parties could have on the country. 

During his presidency he witnessed the rise of the Democratic-Republican party in opposition to the Federalists and worried that future political squabbles would undermine the concept of popular sovereignty in the United States. He specifically stated, ”However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.2

How does this reflect on the inability of lawmakers to past gun laws? I’ve been pondering and searching for greater understanding of this for future posts.

The change that’s needed to began to address many of society’s ills is a heart change. God holds every government leader accountable for their actions or inaction.

“‘Where in God’s name is our backbone?’ ”

President Joe Biden

Stop electing unqualified, unethical, unrighteous lawmakers whose only goal is to wreak havoc on democracy under the pretense of saving the country. Some honor God with their mouths, but their hearts are far from Him. Isaiah 29 says “Then the Lord said, “Because this nation approaches [Me only] with their words And honors Me [only] with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me is a tradition that is learned by rote [without any regard for its meaning], Therefore, listen carefully, I will again do marvelous and amazing things with this people, wonderful and astonishing things; And the wisdom of their wise men will perish, And the understanding of their discerning men will be hidden” (Isa. 29:13-14 AMP).

Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place” (Jer. 22:3).

Pray for spiritual awakening in America and abroad!  

Minister A. Francine Green

Notes: All scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.

  1. Schaeffer, Katherine. Key facts about Americans and guns.Pewresearch.org. 13 Sept 2021. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/09/13/key-facts-about-americans-and-guns/. Accessed 18 June 2022
  2. Pruitt, Sarah. George Washington Warned Against Political Infighting in His Farewell Address. History.com. 18 Feb. 2020. https://www.history.com/news/george-washington-farewell-address-warnings. Accessed 16 May 2022.

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