The sad thing to me is that this guy really believed what the bumper sticker said. And in office discussions provoked by the sticker I found that this was the prevailing opinion -- at least of those who put forth an opinion.
Is it true?
Every time there is a mass shooting in America the discussion of guns comes up. It begins in the news media, continues in Washington and other centers of government and I suppose, in work places around the country.
Unfortunately, like those other two great areas of disagreement, religion and politics, it soon degenerates from a genuine dialog to a heated battle of slogans, clichés and propaganda.
We hear and see the talking heads pontificating on TV, radio and the internet. And soon I find myself receiving e-mails and reading on facebook, a series of arguments in favor of guns and gun ownership, most of them irrational, many in long lists.
-- "Timothy McVeigh didn't use a gun. We don't outlaw fertilizer!"
-- "More people are murdered with baseball bats than guns. We don't outlaw baseball bats!"
-- "It's our Second Amendment Right."
-- "I have a responsibility to protect my family."
And of course the old favorite, "Guns don't kill people; people kill people."
Then there are some really scary ones:-- "If everyone in the theatre was armed, that guy could have been stopped quicker."
-- "Teachers should be allowed (or required) to carry guns in the classroom."
I'm not going to attempt to refute these arguments. Though most of them could be and have been refuted pretty easily, those who make them aren't listening. These slogans and clichés seem to be used in the same way that many religious people use Bible verses as "proof texts." If I can just hit you with enough data (at least more than you have), I have won, whether or not you are convinced.
What really bothers me is that many who hold their pro-gun positions claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. How can this be? How can one follow the One known as the Prince of Peace and at the same time be an advocate of violence?
How can we claim to follow the One who told us to turn the other cheek while we're holding an assault weapon in our hand?
How can we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ as the answer to America's needs and at the same time proclaim a gospel of violence?
How can we claim to serve God rather than Mammon, while repeating without reservation the propaganda of one of Mammon's minions -- the arms industry?
I'm not anti-gun. I'm not advocating we take away people's hunting rifles or sports pieces. Nor am I saying that people shouldn't own guns for protection.
American is a violent nation, filled with violent people. We always have been. We are all sinners and as I understand the Scriptures, we are all capable of violence. And we are armed to the teeth.
And I believe we who claim to follow Jesus should not be advocating more of the same. We should be saying, "Enough!" The solution to violence is not "Mutually Assured Destruction"; it is peace! Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers" and He wasn't talking about the Colt 45!
I know that there will be no complete peace in America or anywhere on this earth until Jesus returns. But paradoxically He has left us here with the task of bringing about His peace, first of all by being people of peace and secondly by preaching the gospel of peace to others.
So is the bumper sticker true? I suppose it depends on how we define greatness.