While perusing my local newspaper, I ran across a curious item. There was an ad for a gun show at a local community church. That’s right, a gun show in a church! Doesn’t everyone know that Jesus Christ and AR-15s go together like wine and crackers; blood and flesh? After all, guns and ammo will help tens of thousands of Americans meet their maker sooner than later.
More seriously, this represents a disturbing trend. More and more religions have aligned themselves with the military. Churches praise those who died in battle. One church I visited even placed a monument to fallen soldiers in the courtyard leading to the sanctuary so the congregation would be reminded of the glory of war every time they go to church.
I long ago rejected organized religion, but I still remember my childhood church praying for peace. The congregation would never have considered allowing its facilities to be used to sell weapons. There were no monuments to violence. My, how things have changed!
Even more disturbing is the tie between some religions and racism, and the tie between racism and guns. The Ku Klux Klan was born out of white “Christian” churches. Today, many Aryan supremacy groups still use the Bible to justify their hatred for others. Further, a new study published in the science journal Plos One has linked racism to gun ownership. A research team led by Dr. Kerry O’Brien measured levels of symbolic racism in relationship to gun ownership. The team reported, “For each 1 point increase in symbolic racism, there was a 50% greater odds of having a gun in the home, and there was a 28% increase in the odds of supporting permits to carry concealed handguns.”
According to the team, the results were “consistent with other US data showing that white males display the most opposition to gun control, and greater support for liberalisation of gun laws.” The team also found that “higher education levels were associated with lower odds of having a gun in the home.”
Maybe someone will conduct a similar study exploring the links between guns and religion, or hatred and religion. I suspect the findings would be both depressing and frightening.