July 5, 2012
"Thou shalt not kill."
Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson
As I watched the fireworks of July 4th this year, I couldn't help but think of fireworks of a different sort: gun violence.
America, we got a problem. With over 300 million privately owned guns, we are the most heavily armed civilian population in the world - by far. In second place is Yemen, where the rate of gun ownership is still less than half that of the U.S. Annually in America 100,000 people are killed or wounded in incidents of gun violence.
While the gun industry never tires of telling us that "guns don't kill people, people do," it's hard to imagine that Trayvon Martin would be dead if George Zimmerman hadn't been carrying a gun.
In Seattle, where I live, it's been a terrible year for gun violence. In just one awful week in May there were six separate shootings, leaving 10 dead or wounded. Earlier this year there were multiple incidents of children getting ahold of guns and shooting themselves or their classmates.
Over the last 40 years, there's been a concerted effort to convince Americans that gun ownership is a fundamental and defining right. I don't buy it. Ordinary people carrying concealed weapons is not the definition of citizenship; it is the failure of citizenship - and of civil society.
This isn't only about the sixth commandment (see above). It's also about the first: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Guns have become a kind of god in America. Our gun worship is idolatry. Time for churches and preachers to speak up.
Deliver us, Lord, from evil. Deliver us from the fear that causes us to buy and possess handguns. But first of all, help us to confess this truth: we have a problem. Amen.
Ms. Christina Villa
Minister for Resources and Communications
Publishing, Identity, and Communication
Local Church Ministries/Office of General Ministries
700 Prospect Ave.