Magazine article The Christian Century

American Idol

Magazine article The Christian Century

American Idol

Article excerpt

The death-by-gun crisis in America is not just a political issue. It's a spiritual issue of the highest order. Having all but enshrined the divinity of guns, our culture has created an elaborate public liturgy for every mass shooting. Flags go to half-staff. Counselors turn out. Thoughts and prayers pour forth. We continue to make a sorry mess of the distinction between loving God and being charmed by idols that seek to thwart the glory of God. Our national infatuation with firearms has reached crisis proportions that should trouble every believer.

All of us get sad, of course, when bullets eviscerate the joy in innocent victims' families. If our eyes don't water up when a tearful dad on the evening news alternatingly weeps and screams because a gunman senselessly mowed down his kid, some serious compassion is missing from the empathy chamber of our hearts.

I have a new sadness these days. It's focused on the legislators who cannot bring themselves to vote for even the most modest gun legislation. I've moved from anger to sadness, deciding that many of them are simply trapped. They're beholden to powers they're not even fully aware of. What started for many of them as a respectful decision to cherish one understanding of Second Amendment rights has morphed into a colossal idolatry of lethal weapons, including rapid-fire assault rifles.

Many of these decision makers are people of faith who are stuck bowing at an altar they never intended to reverence, at least not with ultimate allegiance. I'm positive they don't like what assault rifles do when in the hands of neighborhood killers. …

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