Roy Moore, who recently prevailed in the U.S. Senate Republican primary run off in Alabama has been enthusiastically endorsed by many evangelical Christians because he vows to restore America to 'God's Law.' He is best known for refusing to remove a monument of the ten commandments from the lawn of the courthouse where he served as judge and for defying the supreme court ruling that to deny a marriage license to same-sex couples is unconstitutional.
Recently at a campaign rally, Senate candidate Moore pulled a pistol from his pocket to the raucous delight of his audience of supporters. In one breath he vowed to bring America back under God's law and in the next affirmed his support for gun ownership by brandishing a shiny pistol. To assert that one supports the right of citizens to own a firearm is one thing, but to wave a pistol during a campaign speech is quite another.
I will say that I was not surprised by this but I was somewhat shocked. The increasing enthusiasm for these two things, bringing America back God and promoting firearms, in the same conversation is disturbing. The history of combining religious zeal and weapons is a sad and tragic one.
Evangelical Christians profess to adhere to certain beliefs that seem to be contradicted by promoting the carrying of a .gun for protection:
1) God will protect them.
2) Nothing can happen to a believer unless God permits it.
3) There is an appointed time for each person to die and one cannot alter this.
If one truly believes that God can and will protect them, why would one need to carry a gun? I would have more respect if such an individual said, "I know I am supposed to trust God to protect me, but I just can't, so I carry a gun to protect myself." Or, "I know that God would have to permit something happening to me, but I am afraid he will, so I want to try to prevent it."
The wedding of conservative evangelicalism and gun enthusiasm is well established in current politics. Internet memes that show a gun and a bible and suggest that one should use both are common. I dare say that 35-40 years ago, such a pairing would have been viewed as peculiar at best. As an Alabama native, I am deeply concerned about evangelicalism's embrace of Roy Moore (see my February 2015 post). Brandishing a gun at a campaign rally only heightens this concern.
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