The Word on the Week

Guns and Trump

The sight of President Trump on TV celebrating his first 100 days in office, by giving assurance to this followers that their guns were safe with him in power, prompted this blog. Any legally held weapon can be lawfully retained he said, ignoring the fact that most weapons were designed to kill people.

If you are of a certain age you will recall the diet of Cowboy films which fed the appetites of youths before the digital era. It seemed, to kids of that period, inconceivable not to carry a gun! In fact replicas of the six-shooter beloved by film-stars John Wayne and Alan Ladd were the preferred weapons in many a school playground. They were usually confiscated and ended up, to the frustration of the owner, in the headmasters bin!

If this could happen in these islands how much more would they influence kids in the US where the real cowboys and Indians live. In fact the recent National Firearm Survey shows that in America 35% of the population grew up with guns in the house.
The same survey shows a concentration of privately owned guns. Apparently half the guns in the US are owned by only 3% of the population. These folk have their own private arsenal averaging 17 guns each! It becomes a bit more sinister when armour piercing weapons are included in the collection. However it is a right, jealously guarded, by our American cousins and enshrined in their Constitution.

It seems that the New Testament is opposed to the notion of bearing arms. On the first missionary expedition Jesus sent the 12 disciples into the Jewish towns with virtually no equipment but with his authority to heal the sick etc. (St Matthew Chapter 10 verse 5 to 16).
The second sending out is of the 72 again without weapons. The mission was a success. Jesus cautions them not to boast about their success but rather that their names are written in heaven (St Luke Chapter 10 verses 1 to 20).

The third time was immediately before Jesus was captured and he knew that his followers would be scattered. Here he contrasts it with the previous times and tells them to get equipped and get a sword (St Luke Chapter 22 verses 35 to 38). The disciples produce two swords and Jesus says enough – or as Moffat translates it ‘enough, enough’!

The only time the sword is used is in the garden when the high priest’s servants’ ear is cut off. Jesus heals the wound and uses the incident to drive home the maxim “he that lives by the sword will die by the sword” (St Matthew Chapter 26 verses 50 to 54).

The governing principle would seem to be found in the Sermon on the Mount.
Here we are instructed not to resist the evil one but embarrass them with love! (St Matthew Chapter 5 verses 39 to 42 see also Romans Chapter 12 verse 20).
The use of arms would appear to be left to the army or police. It is difficult to envisage a situation when the Christian could legitimately use them.