GVP and Luke 21:5-6
I consider Holy Scripture the strongest and wisest force addressing gun violence prevention (GVP). Yesterday’s Gospel text succeeds.
The end of the Church Year is approaching. Jesus has entered Jerusalem and is speaking to his disciples. His words span two millenia and speak to us today.
THE TEMPLE WILL BE DESTROYED: The Temple was a fortress with high walls and numerous gates. Segregation was practiced inside the walls. In many ways the Temple was a divider. Common people were restricted to a certain area, the uncircumcised were restricted under penalty of death, and only the priests could enter the most holy of places.
To this arrangement, Jesus voiced destruction. Why? Jesus doesn’t/didn’t like walls. Walls separate and keep people out. Walls create an exclusive I’m in and you’re out spirit. Jesus had similar words for the segregation within. Again, a separateness, an elite community was created to the exclusion of others. God was in a place, apart from the people. Jesus wanted an openness, a global reality, a sense that God’s love through the spirit working through each of us. Jesus would say that all people, everywhere are created in the Image of God, with each person, each class, each culture, all able to be touched and reflective of Jesus’ love.
It is my contention that gun violence is encouraged through the perpetrator feeling less than others, or a sense of superiority, or needing to feel superior; that they feel like an outsider needing to force their way inside, that they do not feel at one with another or certain groups. Separateness breeds violence. Feeling lesser than others breeds violence. Feeling superior breeds violence.
The opposite is also true. Violence is lessened when a person feels equal, feels like they count, feels welcome, feels part of a caring community, feels loved, is able to see Jesus in the other, and is inclusive of diversity. Hence, gun violence is less.