America is founded upon the principal of religious freedom. We remember from studying history that Europeans came to America to escape religious oppression and forced beliefs by such state-affiliated Christian Churches as the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. History also teaches us about the enormous powers those Religious bodies possessed. The Church of England, for example, was the creation of King Henry VIII to secure his personal desire to remarry. And so it seems that religion because of its abuse of others was, in itself, devalued. There were of course some exceptions. The activities during the Civil Rights era of the late 1950’s and 1960s, under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers took the stand for Christ.
These brave men and women fought for racial equality, but here we are forty-eight years since Dr. King was gunned down by an Assassin’s bullet, and yet African American Males are still challenged by Police who are sworn to protect us.
What position should the Church take against these dangers that assail us? I’m sure there are many answers, which can be presented. There are many Church affiliated denominations throughout our various communities and they might all offer their interpretation of what should be done, but there’s one thing that cannot be disputed, and can not be defined only as something “…older than the scriptures themselves, “as President Kennedy proclaimed in the face of civil disorder. It is of greater value because it is recorded in the scripture. Now, to understand this, we first must acknowledge that the Church is more than a building or a denomination. The church is the body of Christ and its purpose if to engage the world to make it better. Yes, the Church is commissioned to make the lives of God’s creation better. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. He gave them a model for praying, which included within its context the following phrase “Thou will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (The Lord’s Prayer)”
I believe it is God’s will that we seek to live in peace. The Word of God, as it is canonized and printed in the Bible is, in my opinion, more important than the second Amendment. When a civilization comes to a point of authorizing people to carry guns, even inside a house of Worship, something is badly wrong. And so now, in our own time, the shooting continues. The antagonism between African American males and Police Officers must be eliminated, the people of this country must feel free to worship without fear of assault by a deranged person carrying a gun, by a trigger happy Police Officer who is frightened by a citizen he has been employed to protect and shooting him in front of his female companion and her child, or someone guilty of homophobia who invades a Night Club and sprays from his automatic rifle bullets that killed people simply because of their sexual preference, and finally the fatal assault of five Police Officers who ran toward danger to protect the lives of innocent people who were running away from the danger. So what can we do? The bible gives us the answer. It tells us that “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).”
The time has arrived—the time is now, for Christian men and women to speak up, to take the stand for Christ and encourage our legislators to do what’s right by making appropriate changes in our gun control laws.
Rev. Dr. J Douglas Childers