Guns, God and Glory

Published 12:28 am Saturday, October 24, 2015

To the editor:


When it comes to my love for this country and my faith, I submit to no one no matter how cynical or skeptical. Indeed, a significant portion of my life has been given to both of them, first in years of service to the Army as a combat command officer and reservist, and, additionally, as someone who increasingly studies Christ and his teachings with the awe and reverence they inspire.

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Yet, I find that today Christianity has become ensnared in a form of militaristic nationalism that debases not only its values but also those covenanted ones we share as “We the people.” Terror has become its raison d’etre. In the name of America and as Christians, we have ingloriously warred upon nations and our own children, ultimately diminishing the standards required of us to be “a city upon a hill” for all the world to emulate everlastingly.

In so doing, we have become afraid, a sure sign of our distancing from Christ and our American selves.  Like Israelis both ancient and modern, we might read the sixth chapter of Leviticus to find our Biblical fate from this rupture.

Over the course of the next year, America will elect a new leader, a president who will become an oath keeper for that covenant, swearing to uphold and defend the Constitution. Inevitably, presidential candidates will be asked about their faith, a new form on an older Spanish inquisition. Muslims won’t do, and we forever will be suspicious of converts like Barack Obama and of Mormons like Mitt Romney.

Our new leader will be asked to swear fealty not only to the Constitution but also to the Bill of Rights, that pesky addendum that includes not only the Second but also the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the one forbidding the establishment of religion and the other guaranteeing due process and equal rights for all. Largely, but not legally, both have been set aside.

Therein lies the conundrum. Anyone who reads the Second Amendment will notice the phrase, “well-regulated militia.” Yet anyone who mentions “regulation” or “control” will send the gun crazies into a frenzy, causing them to reach for their AK-47s and other assorted “hunting rifles” to defend against onrushing Bambis, fascist ATF agents, and those Canadians in blue helmets who help the UN keep peace in the world. No, we would never do that, not giving up part of our sovereignty to become minions of peace and nonviolence.

As a person who has lived in foreign countries including my native Texas, I often have mounted both rifles and crosses in my home. Still, I do not intend to kill or crucify anyone. That’s not my Christian impulse. Moreover, I imagine that the more guns we allow, the less safe we will be. Arming everyone isn’t a solution but a greater problem.

Almost weekly an edgy police officer shoots a young person, usually black, because of an almost paranoid fear that he is armed. With so many millions of weapons everywhere, even a toy gun in the hands of a 12 year old becomes threatening, our public safety and its enforcers more endangered. Walking down a street, going to school, shopping anywhere, attending a movie theater, or going to church becomes less safe, less American, and less Christian.

As Christians and as Americans we need to re-examine both defining relationships.

Lastly, we should also remember that which we learned as children and which our young soldiers inevitably pray when we send them into unending, unwinnable, and inglorious wars, the 23rd Psalm.  That’s our blessed assurance.


Milton Ready
Tryon, N.C.