Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Lutheran Take on Gun Control

I have to start getting ready to go to the Doctor's office for my semiannual checkup.  The Doctor likes to make sure I am still alive, and of course, collect a fee.

Meanwhile, I will send you over to the Armed Lutheran to read an excellent explanation of where Martin Luther stood on gun owners.  You will find it at The Lutheran Perspective on Gun Rights.

 For those not steeped in the Lutheran church, and I find many today who are refugees from other faiths, Martin Luther was a monk, a priest, and a serious and devout scholar of the Bible. At a time when the only translation of the Bible that was available was the Latin Vulgate, and most people could little read their own language, let alone Latin, and at a time when books still had to be copied laboriously by hand, the Gutenberg press was yet to come, the priests and monks could largely tell people whatever they wanted them to hear. In an attempt to reform certain practices that had grown up in the Church, and which were decidedly non Biblical, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the Whittenberg castle church on October 31, 1517.  In honor of this event, the Lutheran Church still celebrates Reformation Sunday at around that time each year.

Eventually, Luther was excommunicated and, more by default, founded the first protestant denomination. The Armed Lutheran takes paragraphs out of Luther's Large and Small catechism (which when I was young, every child of the age of 12 or so began studying for two years before we could take first communion) and supplements these with his own understanding. Obviously, guns were not common, though they had by then been invented, but the principles remain the same. Essentially, to not defend life when you have the power to do so is to spit on God's great gift of life:
Then there is the Lutheran interpretation of the Fifth Commandment: You Shall Not Murder. This is often interpreted, incorrectly, as “You Shall Not Kill” and used to support pacifist teachings which are not Christian. There are two meanings to this commandment, one civil and one spiritual. In the civil realm, God grants governments the authority to take life when waging just wars or executing criminals for their crimes.

In the spiritual realm, this means that we are not to “murder” our neighbors in our hearts with thoughts, words, or hands. Keep in mind that our “neighbor” is everyone else, not just the guy living next door.

In Luther’s Large Catechism the commandment is compared to a wall, or a fortress around our neighbors, so that we do not hurt or harm him. When arguments and tempers flare, “God — like a kind father — steps in ahead of us, intervenes, and wishes to have the quarrel settled so that no misfortune comes from it and no one destroys another person.”

“For where murder is forbidden, all cause from which murder may spring is also forbidden.”
Note that I said that if you have to power to defend life, but do not do so, you are guilty of murder as well. What then of regulations and laws disarming citizens? Are not those who vote for such laws, and who agitate for such laws also guilty of murder? I should think so, if they do not provide means to defend the people gathered in these "No Gun, Victim Disarmament Zones". The Armed Lutheran seems to agree.  And what of business like the Aurora theatre?  The company board of directors and the management are guilty by the same reasoning:
Anti-gunners are fond of blaming gun rights groups like the NRA whenever there is a mass killing. The truth is, from a Lutheran perspective, those who support civilian disarmament are guilty of murder. Those who voted for so-called “Gun-Free” schools, are as guilty of the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary as the shooter was. The owners of the theater in Aurora, Colorado are as guilty as the shooter was. Moms Demand Action and Mike Bloomberg and the companies they shame into banning guns will all be guilty if and when a murder occurs in one of those businesses.

In short, God gave us life. It’s a gift we must cherish and protect. God forbids us from killing in anger or malice. He calls on us to defend life against those who would take it. He condemns those who take innocent lives and those who refuse to defend them.

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