Jeremiah is banging on the Church’s doors. He is called to announce judgment upon Jerusalem and the nations surrounding. Why? Because God wants them to care for the alien, the orphan and the widow, to not shed innocent blood and not go after other gods. God refuses to be taken for granted by followers who feel “safe” simply because they worship and espouse holy words. “I am watching, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1)
What can Jeremiah say about guns? Is Jeremiah dreadfully out of context? Perhaps. But let’s allow the Holy Spirit to provide a bit of holy imagination!
Let’s imagine Minnesota and the United States as a modern Jerusalem. Indeed, there are plenty of folks who elevate our status thus! If so, would God justify 38,000 dead by gun violence in the United States? Would God justify about 450 Minnesotans dead of gun violence? Would God justify 80% of Minnesotan gun deaths being suicide? I suspect God would echo Jeremiah, “Amend your ways and let Me dwell with you.” Does not gun violence victimize the alien, the orphan, the widow, the innocent and more? Does not reliance on the gun as one’s source of power and authority allow for the shooter to assume supremacy over life and death, to be the arbiter of righteousness? Gun god?
Consider deceptive words. “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The Second Amendment gives one the absolute right to own and use a firearm. “From my cold, dead hands!” We need semi-automatic weapons to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. Guns in the home make homes safer. Spouses and partners are safer in homes with guns. Unsecured firearms in the home do not lead to increased youth suicide. Doctors do not need to talk with their patients about the dangers of gun in the home. More gun laws do not make a state safer of gun violence. Mental illness is the major cause of gun violence. More guns in the home do not lead to higher unintentional gun deaths. More police officers die of gun violence than do toddlers. American children are many times safer from gun violence than children in other high income countries.
The truth of the above is the opposite. Yet, we hear the drum roll “We are safe” with more unregulated weapons. In response, Jeremiah intones, “only to go on doing these abominations.” Jeremiah concludes, “Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight?” Or, have we become an industrialized killing field for the sake of rights and profit?
Then comes the snapper. “You know, I too am watching, says the Lord.”
I will stand guilty of writing out of context. My seminary professors would accuse me of Biblical abuse. Yet, is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, whispering Truth through a crack? Are they breathing a compassionate call to action?
Rev. Dr. Ron Letnes