Theologian: Christians Should Not Own Guns

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To hear Barack Obama tell it, there are too many Americans clinging desperately to their guns and their Bibles. But if theologian Krish Kandiah has anything to say about it, that won’t be the case for long. According to him, Christians have an ethical obligation to lay down their arms.

Writing for Christian Today, Kandiah says, “The fact that the Constitution allows something does not automatically mean it would be appropriate for Christians to bear arms.” He cites legal protections for abortion and gay marriage as a way of showing that just because something is permitted by law doesn’t make it right.

“Perhaps instead,” Kandiah writes, “Christians might choose to lay aside their rights and even the pleasure they get from hunting to see fewer people die.”

Kandiah’s argument may resonate with liberal Christians who see firearms as a great societal ill, but it is unlikely to hit home with the majority of Americans gun owners. Certainly, it would be difficult to find a scriptural basis for the plea; the Bible is fairly clear about murder, but it has little to say about arming one’s self for personal protection. In fact, Jesus even makes it a point to tell his followers to go out and get a sword if they do not have one. Critics will say there’s a big difference between a sword and a gun, but it still puts Kandiah on shaky Biblical ground.

Of course, Kandiah is not making a scriptural argument so much as he is a plea for less violence. He draws a parallel to the Salvation Army, members of which choose not to drink because alcohol is such a common problem for the homeless people they are trying to help. And if there are Christians out there trying to help people recover from “gun addiction,” perhaps the analogy is apt. Otherwise, not so much.

Kandiah is correct when he suggests that having the legal right to do something is a poor justification. But to compare owning a gun with getting an abortion or marrying someone of the same sex is more than a little unfair. Christians – some, anyway – see these as acts of sin. Very few Christians would contend that gun ownership falls in the same category, even if they happen to support stricter measures of gun control. That would logically mean that weapon ownership of any kind constitutes a sin, and that’s too ridiculous for even the most liberal Christians to buy.

One could even say that Christians have a responsibility to own guns, especially those who have a duty to protect their families. Some will think this suggestion is just as ludicrous as Kandiah’s, but don’t be so quick to dismiss it. The Bible is clear about a man’s role when it comes to being a good husband and father. Does not the head of the household carry the burden of keeping his family safe from harm? What does God think of a father who is derelict in this duty?

In the end, this is something that every American – Christian or otherwise – must decide for themselves. If you think that owning a gun makes it more likely that you will murder someone or turn the barrel against yourself, then perhaps you should follow Kandiah’s suggestion. If, on the other hand, you feel confident in your ability to bear arms without bringing harm to yourself, your family, or your community, then there is no reason to feel guilty about it. In its way, Kandiah’s argument is just as wrongheaded as the liberal push for overbearing gun control. There are no easy answers when it comes to saving American lives, but surely taking guns away from the good guys is not the way to do it.