Things To Act
Friday, January 30, 2004
God & Guns
While I'm normally somewhat agnostic on second amendment issues, yesterday's DU editorial on the Church's new guns policy is pretty obnoxious [it's not online--perhaps they were too embarrassed].

"Guns are weapons that kill people..." As opposed to weapons that don't?

"weapons that kill people should not be allowed in places where people go to find peace." In addition to having obvious impractical applications (should my former roommate, a black belt who can kill people with his bare hands, be banned from Church?), this argument assumes that everyone shares the author's discomfort with guns. Now some of us suburbanites grew up without the need or desire to have guns around, and thus may not be fully comfortable with them. However, plenty of other people did grow up around guns and are quite comfortable with them across a variety of settings. It seems arrogant to assume that one's own opinion on the matter is supreme. There may be a seed of an argument that those who are comfortable with guns should refrain from displaying them in some places as a matter of courtesy to those who are uncomfortable--but the editorial doesn't even try to make that argument, and it isn't clear that it should, prima facie, prevail over other arguments.

"There is so much ambiguity if guns were [sic] allowed in church." And of course the Gospel, and life in general, is all about removing all ambiguity ever.

A string of dumb rhetorical questions follows: "What if a child or another unfamiliar weapon holder [sic] got a hold of the gun? What if a member carrying a gun made a bad judgment call on a supposed attacker? What if a gun went off accidentally during a crowded church gathering?" None of the arguments hinted at by these questions, of course, are actually specific to church settings. My understanding is that all of them are addressed by concealed carry permit requirements. If the DU wants to come out against any type of concealed carry whatsoever, these arguments might be relevant--but they would face considerable difficulty, as evidenced by the next question. "Should trust and confidence be placed in the hands of all people who attend church?" Strangely, I thought that was a large part of what the gospel was about. We believe in community, which comes down to trusting others to influence our spiritual salvation. The insinuation that we shouldn't put any trust in members is frankly ridiculous.

Ultimately, this is not to say that good arguments can't be made for the church's new gun policy [I suspect the actual argument goes, "Church Legal sat down, ran the numbers, and decided that liability issues required the policy, for reasons having nothing to do with theology"]. But the DU, through its idiotic editorial, probably did more damage to those who were inclined to struggle with this policy than help for the cause.

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