SUMMARY: In a moving sermon pastor James Atwood draws a straight line between how many Christians viewed slavery before the Civil War to how many Christians currently view and react to gun violence. He says many Christians say gun violence has nothing to do with ethics, it has nothing to do with morality, and nothing to do with spirituality. That gun violence is a political issue and we should just stay out of it. Atwood forcefully calls out those statements as a failure to love our neighbors and treat everyone in the Image of God. Additionally he points out that in Mark 12 Jesus points out that to love God is to love our neighbor. We cannot love God without loving our neighbor. Atwood ends the sermon with six spiritual, moral, and ethical reasons why Christians need to speak up and act to stop gun violence.
KEY QUOTE: “It is impossible to say that we love God and ignore what is maiming and killing our neighbors. It is impossible to love God if we casually accept 30,000 gun deaths every year. We cannot love God, no matter how much we are devout, if we don’t care that a mentally ill person in Louisville can buy an assault weapon as easily as going to McDonalds and buy a Big Mac.”
“Six, spiritual/moral/ethical reasons the church should work to stop gun violence.
Every person killed by gun violence is born in the image of God.
Every person killed by gun violence is a precious son or daughter of God.
Every person killed by gun violence is a brother or sister in God’s human family.
Every person killed by gun violence is a neighbor whom God commands us to love.
Every body that is violated is a temple of the living God.
Every religion in the world, including our own, proclaims a golden rule.”
DID YOU KNOW? We curated four guided learning paths on guns and gun violence to help you learn about the subject through a distinct Christian lens.
More curated sermons on guns/gun violence:
In his characteristic passionate, engaging style activist Shane Claiborne frames gun violence as a pro-life issue for Christians.
Framing the conversation within the Sermon on the Mount and Psalm 22 pastor Mark Davis of St. Mark Presbyterian (Newport Beach, CA) says that first we must recognize that all violence is a sin and acknowledge the oftentimes persistent role of fear within the human experience. Second, as Christians, we must recognize that we have a civic duty and a spiritual duty. At times those two things are in agreement while at other times they are not. Last, within the realm of the gun/gun violence conversation, our starting point should be the cross, not the Second Amendment.