Into a land of lies and distortions

PAR167603

The idolatry of the gun

By , 06:49 PM ET, 12/21/2012

 

In their first extended statements since the mass shooting in Newton, Conn., National Rifle Association representatives, advocated armed guards in schools. In their mind, this was the most immediate step that the nation ought to take to protect our children. But they did not speak about restrictions on guns or on high-capacity magazines.

The group’s advocacy for better mental health care and their denunciation of violent video games, movies, and songs was an old familiar approach to the problem. The idea of armed guards in schools fails to take into account the other locations of recent mass shootings—a shopping mall, a temple, a movie theater, a parking lot. The NRA solution does nothing to address the gun violence that takes lives every blessed day in the United Sates and across the globe. Their response keeps the gun above reproach. The gun occupies a place of reverence.

In the African American Christian tradition we often pray: “God Keep us sake from all hurt, harm and danger.” We pray to a God who holds the power of life and death, who has the ability to give and to take back the breath of life. We place our faith in and worship a Creator God who is Divine Love. God is ultimate.

However, when anyone places h/er faith in a created thing, in a less than ultimate being or object, that person has created an idol. Our worship is idolatry. And, make no mistake about it, idolatry is insidious. We may think that an idol is something crafted with the intent of representing a god, but this too is a deception.

In the wake of one of the worse mass killings in the history of the United States that left 20 children and eight adults dead, the question before each of us is whether or not we have made the gun a god. We expect our God to provide safety, sustenance and joy. Far too many of us look to the gun for safety. The gun provides food, and the gun is fun when we get a kick out of shooting just for entertainment.

When our fascinations with guns turn them from tools into an idol that commands our esteem, regard, deference, respect and even reverence, we are led astray into a land of lies and distortions. This is the danger of an idol. It feeds on our fears. It is a dead thing that requires devotion bought and paid for in the currency of blood and tears. When the gun becomes an idol god, it lulls us into thinking that its presence has the power to makes us safe when the complete opposite is true.

The gun can bring death, but it cannot bring life. It can neither bring more abundant life nor eternal life. The Bible warns from beginning to end against idolatry. The prophetic voice in Isaiah says:

To whom then will you liken God,

or what likeness compare with him? An idol?

. . .

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint,

and strengthens the powerless. (Isaiah 40)

When the gun becomes an idol god, the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution becomes holy writ interpreted with a mistaken exegetical emphasis on the portion that says: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” We overlook the portion of the amendment that says: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state. “ This was written before the United States developed the most powerful military in the history of humankind.

Still the notion that police, state national guard forces, the military or various weapons in our homes can keep us perfectly safe from the death-dealing chaos when madness and/or criminal intent pick up semi-automatic weapons with high capacity magazines and starts to shoot is a chimera, an illusion.

Some believers ask: where was God when this waking nightmare happened in Newtown? God is love. God was present in every loving act that happened on that day in that place. God is present now as God gives us the strength to live through our grief. God gives humankind free will. The question is where is our love? Where is the radical love of God loving through us?

Will the truth of our love and faith in a Creator God who is ultimate overcome the idolatry of the gun?

Valerie Elverton Dixon, founder of JustPeaceTheory.com, is a former teacher of Christian ethics at Andover Newton (Mass.) Theological School and United Theological Seminary in Ohio. She is the author of “Just Peace Theory Book One: Spiritual Morality, Radical Love, and the Public Conversation.”

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/the-idolatry-of-the-gun/2012/12/21/c9a3a340-4bc5-11e2-a6a6-aabac85e8036_blog.html or http://wapo.st/WC7gmp

Burt Glinn’s photograph of paratroopers escorting black students into Little Rock Central High School in 1957.  http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=SearchDetailPopupPage&VBID=2K1HZO8E9T9T9&PN=43&IID=2S5RYDO5Y7S1 or http://bit.ly/V7OwFA

Related Posts

A holy harangue   Franklin Graham made a recent appearance in Little Rock.  The Arkansas Times described it this way: He preached against godless politic...
No such thing From the lying lips of Mike Huckabee (a likeable liar), a man who has known Palestinians, who has children who were educated by a Palestinian:  "There...
Fit the battle Which chapter from the Book of Joshua? By Yitzhak Laor, 01:37 19.05.11 ... Between 1949 and 1956, in what Israel calls "retribution operations,...
Not everything bounces back Last edited by Monsieur d'Nalgar on September 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm.   1965 was an interesting year. The first American combat troops were sen...
And we better wake up President's fine words may not address the Middle East's real needs By Robert Fisk, Thursday, 19 May 2011 ... OK, so here's what President Bara...
Bob Jones textbooks Republican religious fundamentalists would rewrite American history By Stephen Bates, Thursday 30 August 2012 09.00 EDT   It is always goo...
Divesting themselves of their overabundance Celebrating the 100th Birthday of Clarence Jordan: The Man Who Inspired the Fullers' Affordable Housing Movement By Kirk Lyman-Barner, 08/12/2012  9:...
Kindred Spirits Dominionism Rising: A Theocratic Movement Hiding in Plain Sight By Frederick Clarkson, August 18, 2016   This article appears in the Summe...
We were there http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu_GW2osRVA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu_GW2osRVA ...and on a brighter note: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
Born through the loins of Ephraim Mitt Romney: Son of Abraham? By Valerie Tarico, Saturday, Aug  4, 2012 08:01 AM CDT   While in Jerusalem Mitt Romney made an appearance at...

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2012/12/24/into-a-land-of-lies-and-distortions/

1 comment

    • Mike Nunn on December 25, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Well written

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.