THE BLOG

Would Jesus Buy an Automatic Assault Weapon?

01/15/2013 01:41 pm ET | Updated Mar 17, 2013

One of the things that has always struck me about many Christians in the United States is the disconnect between their faith in Jesus and their personal behavior. One obvious example that rears its ugly head once a year is the whole enterprise of Christmas (no pun intended by the word, "enterprise"). Images come to mind of people lined up outside stores on Black Friday, competing with one another -- sometimes quite aggressively -- to grab alleged deals as stores pitch their products to materialistic consumers in the name of Christmas. This narcissistic orgy extends up until Christmas day, when thousands of people wake up enthusiastically to discover what gifts they have received, and then continues the following week as people flock stores to return the gifts that disappointed them.

If Jesus were alive today, he'd be amazed at how so many of his followers have perverted one of his main messages, which was to refrain from materialism (e.g., his "Give to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar" comment).

Arguably, we now are witnessing another disconnect between faith in Christianity and personal behavior. In response to the massacre in Connecticut and the discourse about gun control, so many people have reacted by rushing out to purchase firearms. According to some reports, the most popular item being purchased is the automatic assault weapon -- the type that delivers numerous rounds of bullets within seconds. I acknowledge there is no direct correlation between being a Christian and an obsession for firearms. However, I think it is reasonable to speculate that a preponderance of individuals who have responded to the Connecticut massacre by stockpiling guns are conservative politically and strong believers in Christianity.

Assuming my speculation is accurate -- that gun zealots in the U.S. tend to be religious and conservative -- I wonder if they ever pause to ask themselves what would Jesus do in reaction to the sporadic, yet persistent incidents of violence in the country. In addition to advocating for more peace, compassion and assistance for those who are disadvantaged, would Jesus advocate for better gun control and a reduction of gun ownership as ways to mitigate violence? Or would he advocate rushing out to purchase more guns, including automatic assault weapons? I wonder if Jesus would encourage all citizens to carry concealed weapons, or if he would propose that school teachers be permitted to possess guns in the classrooms?