Eugene Cho

What would Jesus do with guns?

jesus and guns

Update: It’s been a heavy and reflective week here in Seattle in light of the recent shootings at Seattle Pacific University (June 5, 2014). We have been mourning and hoping with SPU and grieving the passing of Paul Lee – the 19-year-old freshman student who I had a chance to meet once during his couple visits to the church I pastor. Two days ago (June 10, 2014), there was another school shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon.

Another shooting.
Yes, another shooting.
How many shootings?

If you’re keeping count, that makes 74 shootings (wait for it…) at schools…since Sandy Hook Elementary (Newtown, CT).

Let that sink in.
74 school shootings in the past 16 months in America.

And yes, I understand the distinctions that not all 74 shootings were mass shootings like Newtown. According to CNN, 15 of those 74 shootings were similar to Newtown and the rest were shootings in schools that invovled “personal arguments, accidents and alleged gang activities and drug deals.” It’s painful to speak to some teachers that I know (who mostly attend my church). For them, it’s not a matter of if…but when. Has this now become our new reality? Our new normal?

I am not suggesting we abolish guns altogether. Not at all. Please refrain from sending angry emails, or questioning my salvation, or telling me to “Go back home” or to “Move to Canada then.” I am asking that as we continue “the gun debate”, we – particularly the Christian community – ask the question:

Do we elevate the Constitution above all things, including the Scriptures, and our faith and love in Jesus. If so, isn’t that idolatry?

And yes, yes, yes…we can’t hide the conversation of mental illness in the big picture and in connection with guns but as we discuss gun violence, we can’t avoid discussing guns. Which begs the question I ask in the original post below: What would Jesus do with guns?

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What would Jesus do with guns?

Would he own guns? Sell guns? Perform miracles and multiply guns for 5000 people? Would he use guns? Would he ask his followers and disciples to own guns? I’m no expert on the topic of Jesus and guns but I do know Jesus and for this Jesus who encouraged people to “turn the other cheek” and gave encouragement to be “peacemakers”,  my guess is that he wouldn’t be a member of the NRA.

I know that Jesus has many names but he is also the “Prince of Peace.” Right?

The sad truth is that guns and violence are no laughing matter.

Today only marks a week since the horrific mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School at Newtown, Connecticut. Even as of today, families are burying children and loved ones. A week later,we still can’t make sense of something so senseless.

When the shootings at Columbine took place in 1999 that left 70 shot and ultimately killing 13 people, I heard some pundits explain that we need not fear and that Columbine was going to be an isolated once-in-a-lifetime incident. Since Columbine, there have been 181 shooting at schools across the United States. 61 mass murders since 1982 and 6 alone here this year including one about 3 miles from our home that left 6 people killed on May 30, 2012.

I don’t care what you say, we have a problem. An epidemic problem.

Sick and tired of mourning & weeping

I don’t know about you. I’m sick and tired of mourning, grieving, and weeping.

And while people can go and on in the debates about guns, I’m convinced we can’t just do nothing. What I’m suggesting is not being reactive but rather, to push for common sense gun regulations.

Yesterday, I gathered with numerous Seattle religious leaders for a press conference to convey our collective voice against gun violence and assault weapons. Many major group were represented: Evangelicals, Catholics, Mainliners, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, & Jews. Mostly everyone except Mayan end-timers.

And for those who would criticize why I, as a Christian leader, would work together with other religious leaders, you can email me at: areyoukiddingme@eugenecho.com but I digress.

Sadly, I think I was the only Evangelical pastor. For some reason, I think many tend to group us evangelical pastors to those pastors like this one who urged his congregation to “Bring Your Guns to Church Sunday.” 

7 Steps We Can Take…

Several of us spoke and urged a commitment to the following:

  • A ban on all assault and assault-style weapons, including a buyback of such weapons.
  • A ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Universal background checks, including at gun shows
  • Requirements for trigger locks and safe gun storage.
  • Microstamping technology on all firearms sold, bought or delivered in the state to improve bullet tracing by law enforcement.
  • Investment in the state’s mental-health system to promote well-being among those at risk for committing acts of violence.
  • An end to the glorification of violence in the media and in games played by young people.

Even if all of these might not be possible – immediately – there are some that can and must take place – particularly the ban on all assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines. I was particularly intrigued by an op-ed in the LA Times entitled, “A conservative case for an assault weapons ban” – written by Larry Alan Burns, a federal district judge in San Diego.

But if we can’t find a way to draw sensible lines with guns that balance individual rights and the public interest, we may as well call the American experiment in democracy a failure.

There is just no reason civilians need to own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Gun enthusiasts can still have their venison chili, shoot for sport and competition, and make a home invader flee for his life without pretending they are a part of the SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden.

It speaks horribly of the public discourse in this country that talking about gun reform in the wake of a mass shooting is regarded as inappropriate or as politicizing the tragedy. But such a conversation is political only to those who are ideologically predisposed to see regulation of any kind as the creep of tyranny. And it is inappropriate only to those delusional enough to believe it would disrespect the victims of gun violence to do anything other than sit around and mourn their passing. Mourning is important, but so is decisive action.

Congress must reinstate and toughen the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Seek the shalom of the city…

Already, I’m getting a slow trickle of emails, criticisms, and questions – since the press conference made all the local TV news, the local NPR, and the Seattle Times. In the newspaper article, another local pastor disagreed with our collective actions:

Joe Fuiten, conservative pastor of Cedar Park Church in Bothell, did not attend the event but said his colleagues are “looking at the wrong thing.” It’s not a matter of gun but a matter of evil.”

Leaders of faith in particular, he continued, “should be more interested in what’s in a person’s heart than the mechanism of expressing the evil that’s in their hearts.

“With or without guns, violence can occur and does occur,” he said.

I agree – in part – but it’s a false dichotomy. With or without guns, violence can, does, and will occur. No one is disputing that. But if we can do something to stop the mass murder of children in elementary schools happening again, won’t we even try?

I’m not naive. Terrible things will continue to take place in our broken world but I don’t just want to be interested in a person’s heart, I want to be interested in the whole of a person and for that matter, in the whole of our society. As Jeremiah encourages us in 29:17 -

“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city…Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

I agree. Absolutely agree. One of my callings as a pastor is to point people towards the Gospel. I will teach, preach, and proclaim the Scriptures and share about Jesus like there’s no tomorrow. I will serve the Sacraments and testify to the body and blood of Jesus. I will talk about sin and depravity and call people to repentance. I will pray for the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to informa and transform lives. I will testify to a hope that is Emmanuel. I will be about the good news of Jesus…

But I can do that and pursue peace and shalom in my city, nation, and world. (I can multi-task.)

I believe in a Gospel that not only saves but seeks to restore all things back unto the One that ushered forth all that is good & beautiful. I believe in a Gospel so great that it not only saves sinners like you and me but it can transform communities – on earth as it is in heaven.

What would I say to a parent?

Recently, someone asked me what I would have conveyed to the parents and loved ones of those who had lost their children in these tragic shootings.

Well, there are things you just should not say. Rather not trying to over explain, over analyse, over theologize, over whatever, I think there’s a certain power in just being present in their pain. To mourn with those who mourn isn’t to help them quickly escape their mourning with convenient theology but rather to join them in their mourning.

But at some point, I’d also like to convey:

“I can’t bring back your child but I want to pray, work, and do whatever I can – by God’s grace – to ensure that something like this will never happen again.”

If not now, then when? If not for our children, then for who?

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[photos by Patrick Scriven]

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131 Responses

  1. Pam Christensen says:

    Thank you, PE

    • The Prince of Peace wouldn’t own a gun.

      • Mick says:

        Those who have never benfited by the protection of a police officer, or protection of the United States cast the first stone . Those of us who would not protect the lives of the innocent , spouse , or children with a gun cast the first stone .

    • Curtis Messenger says:

      This is obviously an old post, but was edited recently. I think the idea of bringing Jesus into the gun debate is a good one, but I think you might be looking at it inaccurately.

      My take on this is a combination of two things that have occurred in America over the past few generations:

      1. Traditional family values have spiraled into moral decay (divorce rates higher than any time historically).

      2. We have taken God out of our public school systems and we have taken God, and morality, out of our homes.

      If you look at the lessons of the Old Testament, every time the people decided to turn away from God, they were met with violence and terrible times, even to the point of being dragged into slavery for 70 years in Babylon.

      Every time the people humbled themselves and welcomed God back into their society, the violence was diminished and the people flourished.

      Gun control only controls the part of the population that chooses to follow the law. In essence those who will choose to break the law will figure out how to get guns regardless of how hard it is for them to get them. Making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to get guns empowers law-breaking citizens to be motivated to break the law even more.

      You had 7 points, I should have 7 points:
      1. Humble yourself before God.
      2. Repent of all immorality in your life.
      3. Pray for God to have mercy on our country.
      4. Walk across the street and meet your neighbor, get to know your neighbor, and learn how to love your neighbor as yourself.
      5. Require your family to eat one meal together without interruptions of any kind. America is too busy. Why? Distractions help tear the family apart.
      6. Spend one hour less a week on television, and one more hour a week reading the Word of God. Set aside one hour of Bible study together for the entire family to read the Word together.
      7. Spend once a month, reaching out to those in need (shelters, detention centers, treatment centers).

      • yakaneli says:

        So, to your point #2, regarding the absence of God in public school systems as being a primary cause of the school shooting epidemic, I would like to ask this.

        Given that this is the ONLY developed country in the world where this happens on a regular basis, are you saying all the other countries have appropriately installed or kept God in their public school systems?

        Or could it be that we are the only country without sensible gun laws?

        What really makes more sense, logically?

  2. Much love and respect to you for taking up this very important (and highly controversial) discussion. I especially love that you participated in an inter-faith event. That’s a beautiful picture of what Christian witness can be in an increasingly globalized world.

    Thank you!

    One small bit of push back though. I love all of the points that you all came up with but the last one does cause me some concern:

    “An end to the glorification of violence in the media and in games played by young people.”

    While I don’t entirely disagree with this point, I do think it’s highly problematic. For one thing, it seems a bit abstract in comparison to the other points – how would one define “glorification of violence” and even if a definition can be agreed upon, how does it get enforced without running into censorship issues?

    Relatedly, I think it seems like an over-reach and a distraction. Because the questions around that point seem so large and abstract, it has the potential to suck the energy out of the the other (really excellent and more closely related) points. …something I guess I’m already doing with this reply.

    Again, overall, I LOVE that you did this.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Randor:

      I agree and disagree. You are right that it is abstract and an over-reach but I think it also forces everyone – not just the NRA for example – to consider our complicity in the glorification of violence in our culture.

      Thanks for the support.

      • Mick says:

        Eugene i agree with some of your points here , we do have a violent culture , for instance in my school district we have had armed police officers before this sensleless murder, really for drug trafficking . but we also have a health clinic that could perform legal abortions on students . This of course is a separate issue , but like the First Amendment, Second Amendment , I thought I just throw some right to privacy into the fire . You sort of lost me on using Jesus on being on your side here . There are those who believe in non violence as part of what Jesus Tells them , it is another thing to tell others using your faith to not arm themselves for protection . People were fed to the lions for their faith , they did not lobby Rome to allow others to be fed to the lions for their own faith . Big difference . You offered a political solution and chose to undermine all opposition by pulling Jesus out of your liberal emergent bias and political view points.

        I don’t like guns , but I know enough of this that the last ban on assault weapons was partially feel good . For one just because a gun does not look the part of an assault weapon , many still have the same capacity to shoot quickly with large magazenes . You seem to be part of the typical feel good liberal Seattle mentality here old guy . Plus you took some liberties with the Lord in using Him as you did .

        First Jesus told his followers to flee from the Roman Armies . He predicted the coming onslaught from Rome that follwed His death on the Cross. He did not say turn the other cheek , he said get out of there . It is about context . He did not say turn the other cheek and allow that mass murderer to get through you and attack innocent children who are behind you . In times of his Ministry it was common to carry a sword and or knife for protection when you were traveling , recall one desciple even had a sword on him in the Garden . Jesus also did not speak from an inner faith Conference , proving at least you used a political means to speak to a bigger audience , you using Jesus now when in the comfort of your own audience perhaps is understandble, but its not really example of what Jesus would do either .

        I am not really sure how we as nation should proceed, I agree with your points concerning the mentally ill , the ACLU and other left leaning organizations do support the rights of the mentally ill to the point where its almost impossible for one to be committed . Plus weno longer have the resources available , as a country we really never have . But that is important to deal with . Homeless people who are mentally impaired we allow to freeze to death wearing only their rights ,. Whty must we have these magazenes that allow for a log succession of bullets to be shot , from my perspective it makes no sense . But I defintely do respect those who climbed on their roof tops during the LA riots and used assault weapons to keep looters and arsenists from burning down their stores . So in the discussion I believe we should allow for those in the NRA or whatever , you see some of them know Jesus too .

    • jon g says:

      If I could chime in on the “glorification of violence” issue, which I would define as placing one meaningless act of violence above another thus making the act ‘sacred’ when it really is not (do we really need to know how many bullets were imbedded in each victim?), and the issue around its complicity in our culture: Could the reason this last point is so abstract is that violence is embedded deeply into how our culture has been formed (united through a violent act or acts) as well as the prohibitions we have created to keep these violent acts from repeating (which only keeps violence at bay for a period of time)?

      If this is true, then we are attempting to unmask the foundations from which our culture has been formed, which means that we are drawn to acts of violence whether told “out there” (like snipers shooting children in the streets of Syria – so easily forgotten) or “in here” by being glued to our televisions during vigils of remembrance for the victims which, by watching, confusingly unites us with empathy and makes us feel compassion and sadness towards the innocent victims and their families – which wouldn’t have been possible without the act of violence in the first place (hence the confusion). The media does its job (to well) by providing us with this 24/7 feeling even though it seems to only fuel more energy around who is to blame (through an attempt to make meaning perhaps?). In short, I agree that the medias coverage of this only glorifies violence and this perhaps is the thickest link in the chain to break.

      On another note, what is interesting to me is our reaction of trying to find meaning in who we need to blame for this or how to pass a new prohibition to keep this from happening again (NRA, Video game companies, TV shows, mental illness and the like). At what point are we continuing to participate in the same mechanism that we are attempting to dismantle? Likewise, in what ways are we reaffirming the sacralization of this act by making this or that organization the next target? A deep and very hard tension. Thank you for your post and replies!

      • Kevin Brogan says:

        this sounds like blah blah blah to me. If a guy breakes into your house and is getting ready to rape your wife. will you wish you had a gun or would you yell “Turn the other cheek baby, turn the other cheek!!…..Taking guns is Stupid!!

  3. R. Howard says:

    Did you know more than 100,000 Americans died of accidental pill over does last year!! Or that 43,000 people died in car accidents, of those nearly 40% were alcohol related. In 2008, even as gun killings fell, the number of killings committed with knives or other “cutting instruments” rose 50 percent. I agree with you 100% on banning assault guns. In reality, is a hunter going to use a gun that, when shot mutilates the target..I think not. But on the other side of the coin, we do have a right to bear arms.The main reason I support the right to bear arms is because I fear the government more than I fear gun ownership. That is one of the main reasons the founding fathers were wise enough to include this in the Bill of Rights..An unarmed citizenry has no protection against government. An instiution that has gotten more and more corrupt than I or many other Americans could have ever thought possible. I of course have no idea what this conversation included, or excluded, but. being Christians I think it’s safe to assume that you KNOW the real root of the problem. The more America turns it’s back on God, the worse the evil being unleashed gets. I believe if America were to repent today we would immediately see a decrease in this violence. But if we continue on this path, the violence is continue to get worse! And deep in my heart I all ready feel America is tottering on the edge of collapse…I pray Lord Jesus you would begin to help us, “The Church” to break out of this apathy we’ve been in, and allow the Fire of the Holy Spirit to burn brightly in each of us.ANd lead this great nation back to our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God of Israel.

    • DC says:

      It sounds like you have some knowledge on this topic. That being said, could you give me some insight on the whole fear of the government? I hear this whenever the right to bear arms is brought up, but no one seems to elaborate much further than that. So if the gov decides to to make decisions that the masses do not agree with, the people could have an opportunity to go on a rampage to change their minds? Or is the fear coming from the possible thought that the gov would declare marshal law and force us to eat McDonald’s for every meal? I just don’t get this whole fearing the government thing. My theory is that we as Americans are so used to getting what we want and enjoying our luxury of mass consumption that being told no or maybe, or, just because we can does not mean we should, we become oppositional and do not want to change. Lets face it, we all love our toys/recreation and having anything taken away is uncomfortable. Anyway if you have some insight on this I would appreciate it. Who knows, maybe your answer could influence my stance on this issue.

      • John says:

        If you are honestly seeking insight on the issue, the Internet is full of people discussing that angle. Here’s a pretty interesting analysis to get you started:

        http://www.garynorth.com/public/10459.cfm

      • Theresa says:

        Do some history research – Stalin Mao, hitler, Edie Amene, and that is to name only a few. Many governments (including early England) used might and power to control the people. Millions have died through atrocious means of starvation, mutilation and execution under tyrannical governments. The first rule of order to these in power was to disarm the people. This is the fear of government our founding fathers referred to while writing the constitution and Bill of Rights. Another note the 2nd amendment has absolutely nothing to do with hunting.

      • will says:

        Umm… It wasn’t really that long ago that future Americans feared their government, stood up with arms against that government, and ended up founding this nation. They felt it was so crucial to maintain that same healthy fear of big tyrannical government that they made the right to bear arms second only to the importance to maintain the right to free speech and assembly.

        Kind of funny that those are the same two rights that this article suggests we do away with. “An end to the glorification of violence in the media and in games played by young people.” Seriously? Where do you draw the line? How do you nitpick whether the violence is glorified or simply portrayed? Which parts of the Bible do you suggest we remove and not allow people to read due to the violence portrayed? Maybe young people shouldn’t read history books. Maybe nobody should read the Bible. …or am I being as ignorant as the author of this blog?

        “A ban on all assault and assault-style weapons, including a buyback of such weapons. A ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines.” What is your definition of “assault weapons”? Is it “scary looking guns”? Are the weapons you’re looking to ban any more or less deadly than non-assault-style weapons? As to large-capacity magazines… Is it okay to have the potential to kill 2 people but not 8? Maybe 8 people but not 10? Where do you draw the line? Maybe if you can’t answer those questions, you shouldn’t be drawing the lines. Maybe you should just realize that our founding fathers have a better understanding of tyrannical government and innate freedoms than you can comprehend.

        The day that I see any gun control legislation which is more common sense than common-hysteria-bandwagon-jumping will be the day that I lend my support. The day that I see such legislation which will actually have an impact on potentially preventing any of the senseless tragedies you people seem to love to mention…is the day I pick up a sign and start pacing in front of our Capitol building in support of said legislation. Until then, you’re just another uninformed bandwagon jumper who likes the attention.

    • Greg says:

      This is one of the contributing factors to America’s obsession with guns… a perpetual fear of tyranny. And, yet we as Christians are not to live in fear. Instead, place your trust in Christ Jesus. He’s got your back.

      • And so is tyranny to be ignored?

        What is the available recourse to oppressive tyranny when democratic processes fail?

      • Theresa says:

        Obsession with guns whose obsession? I do not own any guns but I support the right. Seems like the obsession comes from those that want to take away that right. The Jews found this to be true so after WWII and after they were migrated to Israel they now allow their citizens to arm. Why don’t we hear of school violence in Israel? Because the teachers are armed.

  4. B. Roberson says:

    Most telling the fact that traditional gun sales have been in decline for years, but military style weapons have been marketed to the general public to fill the gap in sales, rather than let the gun companies go out of business. Gun lobbyists have ensured these weapons are legal.

    http://m.npr.org/story/13

  5. Pat L says:

    Reblogged this on In the Currach and commented:
    Excellent and words words from a good leader.

    I’ve been thinking about today’s NRA proposal, and have a few responses:
    1. As a parent, I do NOT want armed guards patrolling my kids’ schools.
    2. There were armed police on duty at Columbine during the shooting.
    3. As a Christian, I do not believe the Way of Christ is represented by escalations of violence and threats of violence. The Jesus of Luke 22 was not desperately looking around for his sporting rifle, and admonished Peter for seeing things that way.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Pat: Yesterday, there was numerous police cars and armed police officers at Ballard High – where my daughter goes to school. They were there because they were having an assembly and word spread around school that administrators were fearful that some crazy person would show up … especially since it was the last day of the world.

      She came home on pins and needles.

  6. Steph. Chang says:

    Thank you, PE. Standing with you in this.

  7. schonchin says:

    From the article about you and others in the Seattle Times…

    “I understand why it made sense for white men in the 18th and 19th century” to arm themselves, Braxton said, listing factors such as…the capturing of Native-American land.”

    Done by religious zealots who believed it was their “Manifest Destiny” to do so. That god was on their side in the theft. Catholic missions and Christian missionaries were complicit in cultural annihilation and theft.

    Hypocrites. Every last one. Always trying to tell others what to do and how to live their lives while sweeping their own history of sin under the rug.

    With all due respect, s t f u and keep your blood-stained hands off my civil liberties.

    • John says:

      Haha. Well tell us how you really feel! I fully understand your frustration here. As someone who grew up around guns, it feels like an attack on so many who were/are careful with them. I just know that when civil liberties endanger children (CT), people have the right to fight for their safety. It’s what makes this country so amazing. Anyway – get where you’re coming from here and hope we can find a well-balance solution.

  8. James says:

    Amen Amen Amen!!!!

  9. John says:

    Thank you for this post. I admire your passion. I still believe the solution is greater than taking the gun-control pill and wishing violence away. If our broken nature which creates evil isn’t the root of the issue then we quite honestly do preach a false message of hope found in the Gospel. With that said, it’s the Gospel that drives us to protect lives as Jesus did explain that adopted children of God who have his peace will ultimately live as peacemakers. This issue is more than a right to fight against owning guns in America; it’s a commandment to find answers that restore God’s Kingdom during dark times. If better gun control is part of that solution then we should passionately pursue this goal until it is met.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      John:

      I’m not disagreeing with you at all.

      Dealing with the gun issue isn’t going to usher in total peace and shalom.

      But as Christians, we can teach, preach, and pray for the transformation of hearts through the Gospel & pursue change in our society.

      For example, I think it’s nonsensical when Christians will ask homeless people who are hungry, “Do you want to accept Christ into your heart?”

      If they say, “No”…they just move on to the next person.

      I hope our faith in the Gospel compels us to respond to their physical hunger, too.

      • John says:

        Thanks, Eugene. Likewise, I’m not in disagreement with you on wanting to take action. My only response is that a homeless person would ultimately need to realize his situation is far greater than a one-time meal. Just as you find it absurd to walk away from someone who desires food because they don’t receive Christ, I find it absurd to simply feed someone without explaining their current situation in life may ultimately stem from a spiritual reality–joy, hope, purpose, etc.

        • Eugene Cho says:

          John:

          You and I are saying the same thing in essence. Your point is obvious and I wholeheartedly agree.

          The question though, is what we as Christians do, when you lovingly explain that “their current situation in life may ultimately stem from a spiritual reality – joy, hope, purpose. etc.” and they say, “No thanks.”

          It’s a rhetorical question so no need to respond.

  10. Bryan J. says:

    If Luke 22:35-38 sheds any insight my guess is that Jesus would tolerate guns with grace – as some of the disciples (like Peter) were packing swords and Jesus was feared as an insurrectionist (though found innocent).

    But I also think he would question us as to what we intended them for as they don’t appear to be needed for Kingdom purposes. (He rebukes in Matt 26:52, Luke 22:51, John 18:11 and advocates missional work “as lambs” in Luke 10:1-12). Furthermore, I think He would also seek to help us heal from their use if the self-sacrificing picture of Acts is informative.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Bryan:

      This is good. Thanks.

      I don’t think Jesus would be entirely against guns or on a tour to ban guns entirely.

      Like you, I agree he was about the business of the Kingdom. Seeking peace and shalom on this earth is why I’m for gun control in a broken world.

      • Precisely.

        Jesus promoted truth and justice.

        And often times…as the course of history has shown, governments seek to limit both.

        It’s the only reason that we should be allowed to have guns. Because if you look at the twentieth century alone more than 50 millions people were killed…by their OWN governments AFTER being disarmed.

        If you want to talk about kingdom building, it’s hard to share the gospel when those who you could be reaching have been executed by their benevolent governments.

  11. Lesa Engelthaler says:

    thank you so much. I needed better words to put to my inadequate thoughts. I will generously share yours! peace to you.

  12. natlowe says:

    That’s great. I’m glad we’re taking the first step in addressing gun control. I’m also glad that you Pastor Eugene are a leading voice as an API leader in interfaith dialogue and advocacy around this issue.

    However, let’s take it a step further and seek disarmament on all levels of society. In addition to an assault weapons ban, please speak out to:

    1. Withdraw US military presence from foreign nations.
    2. Deny US funding for violent and oppressive regimes across the globe.
    3. Stop all drone attacks in Pakistan.
    4. Stop the mass incarceration of people of color.
    5. Demilitarize the US-Mexico border.
    6. Replace all police guns with batons and tasers.

  13. Al Doyle says:

    Thank you, Eugene, for your valor and leadership.
    We need to address the gun issues.

    I love the 2nd Amendment’s intent to keep us a free people and really wonder what the h- e-double toothpicks the NRA is thinking by wanting to place an ARMED representative of the GOVERNMENT in every single core neighborhood in this Nation. Was there not one grown up, rational person in the meeting rooms with them all week?

    More important we ALL (me included) need to heed the call for a kinder more caring nation as the way forward. We need to fund better care for the mentally ill and socially displaced. We need to know and love our neighbors. And like you, dear leader, we must show up and dialog with those of other faiths in the spirit of unity.

    The best way we can defend our faith and freedoms is by having enough faith to overcome fears of those not like ourselves.

    Keep up the good work. May we follow your example.

  14. Your point about mental well being is relevant and pertinent because the causes of violence are just as important as the outcomes of violence.

  15. I want to get more involved with things like this. Are there websites, groups, events, etc that would help someone like me be apart of the solution? I don’t want to just talk or theorize but join a movement that lobbies for points like you guys raised at the interfaith mtg. Thanks…

  16. Thanks for your presence at the event yesterday. As someone with some evangelical roots and deep appreciation for the work of people like Jim Wallis, it was good to see you there alongside other mainline and interfaith clergy.

  17. B H says:

    I am also a Christian, and I live in the Seattle area.
    First, don’t give me that sanctimonious horse c**p. If you pastors were not so freaking scared of your own shadow you would stand up for the truth in ALL things, ESPECIALLY the lies, deception, and murder being perpetrated by the US government.

    if you did, we probably wouldn’t even be having this discussion because “religious ” Christians would be emboldened to stand up for God and truth.
    Instead you pastors create diversity in order to assert control.

    Then you people deliver a pathetic canned sermon aimed at generating maximum offerings and ensuring a steady weekly income.

    I spent decades as a very active “church” goer, until I prayed for guidance, and, using Matthew 7:7 as my guide I started honest research.

    What are you going to tell your congregation when the UN forces are rolling down the street enforcing martial law?

    How dare you help the government perpetrate tyranny in exchange for your tax exempt status?

    Are you THAT blinded you can’t see the obvious?
    If those teachers had been allowed to carry their OWN guns there could very well be NO innocent death toll.

    Have you no pride? How can you face yourself in the morning knowing you are not facing the truth yourself, and therefore deceiving the church?

    No, you are wrong.

    And now you are abusing your position to advance a falsehood.

    You should be ashamed, you will be judged in the end, and all the full collection baskets wont help you then.

    There’s another possible reason you were the only Evangelical pastor, maybe the rest are not afraid to face the truth, and don’t care what the weekly “take” might bring.

    I resent the fact you have the nerve to call yourself a leader, because right now you ar dong nothing of the sort.

    • I’ve known Pastor Eugene for six years and have worked under him for a number of those years.

      Nothing you’ve said about him or his church is true.

      If you believe passing gun legislation equals a support of government tyranny then make that point and we can have a discussion about that.

      Ad hominem attacks don’t do anyone any good.

      • B H says:

        Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus revealed to His disciples the future hostility they would face and encouraged them to sell their outer garments in order to buy a sword (Luke 22:36-38; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:26-27).

        Yet, you establishment “Christians” seem to ignore anything that might upset someone else.

        Is that what Jesus taught His followers to do? Not even close.

        Here is someone else’ thoughts about “assault” rifles.
        While I do not own one, I agree with what they are saying, and aside from below all I can add is if you think the 2nd amendment is so people can go deer hunting you may want to go back to school.
        Oh wait, it’s the school system that has distorted history and is one of the biggest reasons America is suffering today, so you may want to do your own research if you are capable of any critical thinking.

        Anyway, here’s anther’s thoughts on the subject, understand, this is how at least 100,000,000 Americans as well.

        Why do I need an assault rifle you ask? I don’t need it for hunting. I don’t need it for home protection from a single invader, or even two. So I echo the sentiment of many gun control advocates; Why do I need an assault rifle, with a high capacity clip no less?

        Here is why. I need an assault rifle because I live under the rule of a government who thinks it has the right to take away my assault rifle; a government who dictates who I can marry, what I can eat, drink, and smoke; a government who uses force to take my money away from me, who charges me rent (property tax) to live in my own home: a government who commits acts of war without the consent of the people, who murders it’s own citizens witout probable cause or due process; a government who has monopolized the currency with which I can trade my goods and services, then devalued that currency through inflation and taxation; a government which uses the tyranny of democracy rather than the freedom of a republic.

        To put it bluntly, I need an assault rifle in the event that I might have to declare my independence from a tyrannical government. I’m statistically unlikely to ever shoot an intruder in my home. I’m statistically unlikely to ever be in the position to stop one of these rare mass killings at a school, as these things happen far less often than the media would have you believe. However, whether you are Democrat or Republican, you can easily find countless instances of the government stepping all over your rights, whether it be on social issues (marriage, gay rights, religious rights, etc.) or fiscal issues (taxation, property rights, business regulations, etc.)

        So, how likely is it you will use your assault rifle to prevent a school shooting? Not very likely at all. However, how likely is it that you will need your assault rifle for the purpose of protecting your rights from a tyrannical government? Well, the fact that we are having this conversation not only shows that it is increasingly likely, but it also clearly demonstrates the reason why the right to bear arms is unalienable.

        When a tyrannical government uses it’s assault rifles to take away my rights, it would be beyond immoral to expect me to defend those rights with my grandpa’s shotgun. That is why I need an assault rifle.

        • amost says:

          By the way, those Bible references you quoted don’t say what you think they say. What about “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s”? The main problem with this is that you have taken a couple of verses out of context to justify your own, horrendous, ill-conceived and wrong position rather than properly thinking this through. Have you tried reading a long ‘sweep’ of the Bible? I would start with one of the Gospels. Maybe Luke or John. Do you actually imagine your ‘right’ to own a gun is more important than children’s right to go to school without being gunned down, to death, in their own classroom?

          • John says:

            THAT is a classic case of false dichotomy if I’ve ever heard one… since when is the right to own a gun mutually exclusive to the “right” (perhaps a questionable use of the term, but I’ll leave that alone for now) of a child to go to school without facing death there?

            But I’ll play your game… yes, my right to arm myself to be able to adequately protect myself and those I love is certainly more important than your misguided efforts to “protect” children in school. The protection of those children is the responsibility of the people to whom the parents choose to entrust their children, not the federal government, and certainly not me as a generic citizen.

            Or are we going down the slippery slope of “the security of the whole is more important that the liberty and rights of the individual”?

            • amost says:

              It’s not a false dichotomy at all. And I’m not sure why the ‘right’ to own a guide is not questionable and the ‘right’ to have a child go to school without facing death is.

              I’m making that assumption, being on this pastor’s page, that you are a Christian. In that case, what possible need could you have to own a gun? If you are a Christian, you certainly can’t fire it at anyone. Would Jesus do that?

              Are you really saying that when parents send their kids to school, they can expect that any individual who can get hold of guns quickly and easily can go in and fire at them; that they are under the protection of teachers alone and nobody else need exist? There can be no safeguards put in place to prevent such easy annihilation? As a parent, and as a friend of several teachers who are also family members, that is unacceptable.

              The answer to there being too many guns is certainly not more guns. I’m not saying the security of the whole is more important than the liberty and rights of the individual. I just think children’s rights are more important than your ‘right’ to have a gun. As for armed guards at schools, that’s great until the armed guard goes crazy and shoots up the school.

              Newsflash: the Constitution is not the Bible. It has been amended already. It can be amended again.

              • John says:

                The laws of government should consider all citizens, not just Christians. The fact that I am a Christian and may not be inclined to use a gun in certain ways is irrelevant to whether the government should allow or not allow certain things.

                I am saying that a LAW-ABIDING citizen being allowed to own an “assault” weapon (a meaningless term, but I’ll ignore that for now) has nothing to do with whether or not children are safe. Their safety is primarily the responsibility of those who are entrusted with their care (the local school district and its employees) much more than my responsibility as a generic citizen.

                There is a great deficiency of understanding today about the concept of a “right”. Our founders RECOGNIZED (not granted to us) the existence of certain INALIENABLE rights. One right does not trump another. They co-exist, because they exist. No child has the RIGHT to go to a school and be safe. That may be a very desirable scenario that we can all agree we want to make happen, but it is not a RIGHT, and therefore cannot be compared to my right to be armed and to use force to protect life.

                Regardless, you can’t show me any gun laws short of a complete ban and confiscation combined with making it a capital offense to possess a gun that would come close to guaranteeing that school shootings wouldn’t occur. Therefore, your question is still irrelevant.

              • “If you are a Christian, you certainly can’t fire it at anyone. Would Jesus do that?”

                Really? Really?

                You confuse what being a Christ follower with actually being God…and don’t forget the WHOLE OLD TESTAMENT where God=Jesus…wiped out evil doers across the board.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      B H

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a note. I will leave it at that.

      • Roz says:

        @ Eugene Cho: what a wonderful response to that wacky, frightening rant. : )

        • B H says:

          “wacky frighting rant”? really?
          What’s frighting is you are so completely clueless as to deem standing up for individual liberty wacky.
          Whats infuriating is you are so determined to remain delusional, what’s scary is you applaud the pastors limp-wristed evasion of an extremely important issue that can and will lead to the destruction of America.
          Of course the pastor will “leave it at that”, because he refuses to address reality.
          Oh wait, the economy isn’t really bad, the dollar is as strong as ever, and the USA hasn’t waged economic war on third world countries.
          The president always tells the truth, and the Nazis didn’t really murder all those innocent people.

          What’s really frightening is you are so coddled that you no longer see any reason to be a man, or to bother standing up for yourself.

          Whats pathetic is all the humans that have given their lives to defend the freedom you are so ignorantly throwing away.

          Even now, police everywhere live in fear the next traffic stop may be their last, they don’t know if some nut job that should be institutionalized or some druggie is about to snap.

          Whats insulting is you call yourself a Christian, when in reality you are confusing religion with Christianity.

          This are two completely different concepts.

          Religion has murdered and destroyed more humans than anything else in history.

          Christianity is a personal spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ.

          How dare you distort Christ’s message and imply He was a pansy.

          He was not, and He did not instruct us to live in denial.

          Maybe, if your really lucky, a police officer will be close by if anything happens to you so they can protect you, and you wont even have to lift a finger for yourself.

          If your not lucky, you will only be a statistic. Hopefully you wont be victimized to badly, and if you or your wife cooperate and make them happy maybe they wont hurt you.

          But the sad truth is, you are only a victim waiting to happen.

          • Ryan says:

            BH, I think you have only succeeded in accusing yourself of everything you accuse Eugene of. My pastor is no pansy, it takes a lot of courage to preach truth and be true to the heart God gave him, and I think he has a real passion for the truth of the gospel and more than enough conviction to match.

            He has to deal with people like you all the time, hiding behind the anonymity of the internet, making a religion out of their distorted view of the world and creating a corrupted, vicious, Frankenstein monster sort of Christianity out of it. Just because Eugene doesn’t toe the line with your ideal of what makes a pansy and what makes a real man doesn’t mean that his preaching reflects badly on Jesus Christ. Neither does he have to share your lopsided, paranoid worldview in order to be a true follower of Christ’s.

            In a world like this, it takes exactly the kind of strength that Jesus had to stand up for peace and reconciliation when the world always preferred to do things your way. Might does not make right, and in attacking one of the most authentically Christ-loving people I know the way you have, you have done nothing to win anyone over to your way of thinking and have only hurt your cause. I do not now, nor will I ever, believe as you believe and confuse your kind of thinking with real Christianity.

          • rprovonsha says:

            Also BH, the way you talk about my pastor’s family at the end of your last posting makes my skin crawl, the insinuations are cruel, graphic and entirely unnecessary. I don’t know how you could be so condescending as to think he is naive or doesn’t fear for their safety. I am beyond put off.

            • B H says:

              A question.. how many police officers have gotten successfully mugged, robbed, or assaulted in a random act of aggression?
              Aside from when they are risking their lives to protect and serve the public at large.. the answer is pretty low, because they are in possession of a personal firearm. When off duty they are just as likely as as anyone to be selected by a criminal as anyone else, but we have all heard the humorous stories about idiot bad guys that have tried to rob an off duty officer.
              So what’s the solution? Well, we can either pass a law to assign a personal police officer to escort every American citizen from cradle to grave, or we can allow Americans the right to protect themselves.
              How does that saying go? “Give a man a meal and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life” or something like that.
              And that example totally excludes the true purpose of the 2nd Amendment.
              As for your reply,now you are twisting my words, and ignoring the meaning of the words.
              It is painfully obvious you were never in the military, or ever worked in either of the only two public service areas, police, or firefighters. You are “beyond put out”, aw, gee, how will you feel when criminals know there is no chance you can protect yourself and invade your home?
              Australia recently banned almost all personal firearms, and their crime rates increased in every area, in some the crime has risen by 100%. It now widely acknowledged it was a failed experiment. Isn’t that dandy, the stinking tree hugging idealists have destroyed the personal security of an entire nation by fanatically perpetrating a pipe dream.
              I am both a veteran, and ex-firefighter. I knew I didn’t have the patience to be a cop, because by the 3rd or 4th domestic violence call I would have beat the crap out of the stinking drunk that just put his wife in the hospital, and I doubt a child molester would have made it to the jail in one piece if I had to do the transport.
              I wish no harm on anyone, but I have sen too much to be able to accept the lie of “global good will”.
              That is a fantasy from the land of rainbows and unicorns.
              There will always be people that prey on other people.
              Shoving your delusion down everyone throat will only remove the only result in higher crime rates, more heinous events, and destroy one of the most sacred provisions left to Americans.
              I’m glad the post made your skin crawl, because if the gun grabbers were to be successful, it could easily become a reality, and I would never want to say I told you so.

              • B H says:

                ug, hate typos, please understand the meaning and forgive for not editing the post

              • rprovonsha says:

                BH, correct as you may be about the goodwill of others, guns or self-defense have little to do with the essential articles of the Christian faith, at least in any theology I’m aware of. If your real point was just that this is a dangerous world and that we should have the right to defend ourselves, that’s all you had to say. You didn’t have to open up by going so heavy on the offensive, and confusing a person’s freedom about how to defend themselves with their worth as a man or their ability to preach truth. What made me angry was the condemnation you issued to a *pastor* about something that is really much more political in nature and has less to do with the gospel:

                “If you pastors were not so freaking scared of your own shadow you would stand up for the truth in ALL things, ESPECIALLY the lies, deception, and murder being perpetrated by the US government.” – BH. And it goes on from there with other indictments like this.

                Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re saying it’s a particular responsibility of a pastor to warn people about this government. The way I see it, that’s a sidebar at best, and there are other valid ways of looking at this issue. One would be that the government is still of the people, by the people and for the people, and many of those people would feel safer without so many assault weapons and high-capacity magazines out there. I don’t think we need those to stop a crazed gunman, so all they are doing is helping maximize the loss of innocent life.

                I think our pastor offered a very thoughtful and genuine response, and he did so out of a concern for human life, which is a more vital concern for a pastor to have. He preached his conscience, and I wouldn’t expect any pastor to do anything less.

                I accept very little of what you say in your original post, but I understand why you feel the way you do at least. Eugene wasn’t advocating by any stretch that all guns should be taken away. And he’s not facilitating some kind of slippery slope, if he stakes out a clear position and stands by it. You do not have to go all the way to the other extreme to protect the 2nd amendment. It’s not assault weapons or nothing. And if you think you need assault weapons because of the government, I’m afraid you’re still a little overmatched for firepower.

                As for being glad you made my skin crawl, I’m fully capable of imagining the worst that could happen by myself; don’t think you’re doing me a favor. I still think those were tasteless things to say.

                PE, sorry if I took anything upon myself that I shouldn’t have. I’m still trying to figure out how best to stand up and speak my mind and yet be gracious with people. And BH, it’s not my goal to antagonize you either, but I feel it needs to be said that no one deserves that kind of treatment on those grounds, least of all the kind of person I know Eugene to be.

          • Eugene Cho says:

            Must. stop. reading. the comments…

            • B H says:

              I accept my comments were strong, it was a passionate response to extreme frustration.
              You are naive on several accounts, the first being this government is from the people and for the people. This government has only served it’s self, and sided with “the people’ when convenient.
              The weak passivise approach take by so many pastors, the refusal to address the one entity that is actively destroying the ability of Americans to pursue happiness is what is enabling that very same corrupt entity to continue it’s oppression.
              You would be amazed how many millions of people have become so disgusted with the establishment church’s pathetic posture they have stopped attending.
              I dare you to offer sincere prayer, then start honest research into the many lies, deceptions, and outright criminal acts perpetrated on Americans by the government.
              Why did I come off so strong? Because you people refuse to give honest consideration to simple truth, and I was compelled to cause you to understand the reality of your blissful ignorance.
              This discussion is just another validation of another very sad fact.
              Sometimes I wish I was wrong, and dream of the days I was ignorant, life was so easy and I didn’t have to watch otherwise intelligent people make so many stupid mistakes.
              Giving away the 2nd amendment will not succeed, there are far too many people that understand the truth, and they will fight for their right with a passion you will never comprehend.
              Don’t worry, I will never go to your church, I have no wish to subject myself to false or otherwise misleading teachings.

              • rprovonsha says:

                “I accept my comments were strong, it was a passionate response to extreme frustration.”
                This is a cop-out, your speech was intimidating, vulgar, hateful, slanderous and demeaning. This is a free country and your speech is protected, but ethically speaking, you don’t have a right to say or do anything you want, just because you are angry. You know nothing about the people you are talking to / about. What you said deserves to be condemned for what it was.

                “You are naive on several accounts, the first being this government is from the people and for the people. This government has only served it’s self, and sided with “the people’ when convenient.”
                Translation: You cannot accept that this government, though admittedly very fallible, was lawfully elected by a majority. And you cannot believe that it is attempting to do some things these people want it to do.

                “The weak passivise approach take by so many pastors, the refusal to address the one entity that is actively destroying the ability of Americans to pursue happiness is what is enabling that very same corrupt entity to continue it’s oppression.”
                Neither the 2nd Amendment nor the Pursuit of Happiness are staked out in scripture… you condemn a pastor for not talking about these things, even though it is not their obligation to. It might be useful, but that’s really a matter of the pastor’s conscience, isn’t it? Can you not believe that someone could have another opinion, and that it could hold water?

                “You would be amazed how many millions of people have become so disgusted with the establishment church’s pathetic posture they have stopped attending.”
                I’ve been aware of this idea, but as you yourself basically said, it’s not the church’s job to be popular. So why do you think I’m going to this one?

                “I dare you to offer sincere prayer, then start honest research into the many lies, deceptions, and outright criminal acts perpetrated on Americans by the government.”
                My honesty and sincerity is not on trial here. And I am aware of pretty much the same information you are, something I have repeated to you more or less several times. The difference is in our analysis, but we’d never get to that if we keep going around and around on assertions. I dare you not to rely on them. Also, due to past experience, I consider one person coercing another to pray the way they want them to a form of abuse. Do with that what you will.

                “Why did I come off so strong? Because you people refuse to give honest consideration to simple truth, and I was compelled to cause you to understand the reality of your blissful ignorance.”
                You did not come off strong; you went on the attack and tried to inflict verbal injury against fellow citizens and believers. I don’t think you actually managed to hurt anyone, but you certainly didn’t persuade anyone either, taking the road of verbal abuse and intimidation. Who would want to listen to that? The most generous appraisal I can give you is that you were venting at us, because of this worldview that you are fixated on, which you say should be so obvious to others. I can see what you are saying, I am aware of current events, and I do not agree with the way you size everything up. I don’t believe you care to know why.

                “This discussion is just another validation of another very sad fact.
                Sometimes I wish I was wrong, and dream of the days I was ignorant, life was so easy and I didn’t have to watch otherwise intelligent people make so many stupid mistakes.
                Giving away the 2nd amendment will not succeed, there are far too many people that understand the truth, and they will fight for their right with a passion you will never comprehend.”
                You must have straight up missed all the parts where both my pastor and myself said that no one was pushing for the 2nd amendment to be abolished. I know you think that’s where all this is headed, but the burden of proof is on you. That’s not what we’re facing. Regulation does not equal abolition. This discussion has been about high-capacity clips and assault weapons.

                It’s safe to say you don’t comprehend our passion either; I say we grant each other amnesty on that one, because the simple fact is we’re trying to address this issue from different angles. It’s a given that nobody’s going to understand, if that’s a fact that we don’t. Nobody’s awarding points for being condescending either, so save it.

                We are not guaranteed security in this life, and the fact is, no amount of firepower can guarantee that for us. There were 2 armed guards at Columbine. A friend and acquaintance of mine from college was shot to death outside the school where she taught. Afterwards, everyone started to say, if she had a gun, things would have turned out differently. The facts of the case were, she was alone at the time, and she was ambushed; i.e., she did not see the shooter coming. She thought he was being held in jail and did not realize he’d found out where she worked. You cannot draw a gun on someone you do not see. Personally I’d have been happy for her to have a gun, but it would not have made a difference that day. I can’t say I wanted him to have one. Hence regulation, not abolition.

                “Don’t worry, I will never go to your church, I have no wish to subject myself to false or otherwise misleading teachings.”
                That was understood by me from your first post. I know for a fact though that if you went to a couple of services, you would be surprised by a number of things. You’ve judged us on a single post, you don’t even know if this is a regular topic. Separately speaking, the Gospel is a challenge to everyone, and everyone is convicted by it and stumbles over it. This church is one place where you would be challenged. It’s important that you go somewhere where that happens to you.

                I’d like to claim a few promises from the Sermon on the Mount:
                Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)
                Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy. (5:7)
                Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God. (5:9)

                And we pray that God’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven”. We may not have peace now, but that does not mean that we don’t have a mandate to work for it on earth. This position on this topic is not something a pastor should be condemned for.

              • John in Florida says:

                As I pondered why there seems to be such a great divide between the two sides of the gun control issue, I realized it’s because for one side (those of you advocating more restrictions) it’s a zero loss proposition.

                Most of you either don’t own guns or don’t care about the issue, so you have nothing to lose. You say “why not try more gun laws and see if it helps” because you see no downside even if it doesn’t work.

                On the other hand, the other side has a lot to lose and therefore thinks it’s not unreasonable for you to make the case for why your proposals would actually work before they agree to give up something they care about and value highly.

                When it seems obvious to us that your proposals wouldn’t do what you think they would do, we think it important to point that out to you. However, you really don’t care because you only see potential upside and no downside.

                Kinda hard to work out some kind of compromise in that environment, I’d think…

  18. John says:

    What would Jesus say about guns?

    He would say nothing. Jesus is not concerned with the affairs of this world, he is concerned with people and their hearts.

    Jesus did not go around preaching about how people need to turn in their swords. He also did not tell them to arm up in preparation for taking on the Romans. He lives on a level so high above these things, that it is not even worthy of His time or attention to discuss them.

    Once Jesus has your heart, then He might talk to you about how love is more powerful than the sword. But His focus would be on your heart and your desire to commit aggressive violence, not on the tool of violence.

    Where did Jesus ever give his commentary on the human laws of the Romans, Jews, etc. and on how his followers needed to work to get them changed?

    You want people to take you seriously as a pastor? Then get your fingers out of the affairs of this world and focus on reaching people’s hearts for Christ.

    • amost says:

      I hate to point this out to you, but Jesus is very much concerned with the affairs of this world, because people and their hearts exist within it. And in response to your response to my response above (because there isn’t a ‘reply’ button under it), all I have to point to is Dunblane, after which the UK took swift action and tightened up the gun laws there and nothing like that has happened there again. Changing the gun laws won’t solve the problem by itself. You’re right; there are no ‘guarantees’. But common sense indicates it would sure as heck help. If there’s an intersection with no stop sign, putting one there won’t necessarily stop car crashes.

      It’s not about whether a citizen is ‘law-abiding’ or not. More guns equals more likelihood of guns being used equals more mass shootings of the type that happened at Columbine or Sandy Hook or anywhere else in the U.S – or the high numbers of accidental deaths of children who pick up their parents’ loaded gun at home. You can’t tell me there is any more or less evil anywhere else in the world but those countries with better gun control have fewer deaths by guns per 100,000, excepting Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia. Are those really the countries that the U.S. wishes to compare itself against on this score? You need to use the Bible and not the Constitution to back up your beliefs on this. You don’t need to ‘use force to protect life’. This is not wartime.

      • John says:

        We’re getting into the same arguments that are all over the Internet right now, and there’s not much point in repeating it here. My only reason for commenting was in response to the title of the article, because I think it is very wrong for a Christian pastor to go down this road.

        By him publicly taking a position on a political issue, he has just alienated himself from at least 50% of the population (probably more than that in many areas of the country). How does that further the purpose of God in this world? I guarantee you that Jesus could not care less what gun laws exist or don’t exist in the United States, and I don’t think he wants His followers out campaigning on the issue either.

        A pastor can address current events and talk about how the ultimate solution to the problem lies in the hearts of the people. To go beyond that I believe is too far and counterproductive.

        I will leave you with John 18:36 and let it rest:

        “Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

        • amost says:

          No, he is absolutely correct as a Christian pastor to stand up and be counted. There seem to be plenty of Christian pastors and ‘religious right’ backing up the right to keep guns. Who cares who he alienates, if you are following your own Bible verse about ‘kingdom living’? The Holy Spirit cannot be ‘alienated’. He goes where he wishes to go. Christians are not here to kowtow to political lobby groups. They’re here to challenge injustice and unrighteousness wherever it is.

          I will leave you with Matthew 5:9 and let it rest.

          “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God”.

          • “If you want Peace prepare for war” – Publius Flavius.

            And let’s not forget that we are at war against principalities that engage in war in the flesh as they have done since the beginning of time.

            Fighting against injustice often requires sacrifice…and I’ll leave you with one more.

            John 15:13

            No one shows greater love than when he lays down his life for his friends.

          • John in Florida says:

            I hope you’ll forgive me if I have trouble equating being a peacemaker with advocating on a political issue.

            I never really meant to get into the actual position taken on the political issue. My real problem here is that a pastor would try to say that Jesus is on his side of the issue.

            (for clarification, it looks like there’s at least one more “John” in these comments… I’m not the one making some of the earlier comments)

            • Eugene Cho says:

              John in Florida:

              My interest isn’t in politics but when politics involves policies which impacts people…then, it’s a very different story.

              I care about people because I’m pretty sure Jesus cares about people.

              • B H says:

                If that is true then why don’t you do something about the hundreds of thousands of people locked up for no actual crime whatsoever?
                Why don’t you speak out against the giving away of billions of dollars to countries that hate us when so much good could be done here with that same money?
                Why don’t you address the corrupt politicians that sell out Americans by passing laws to help the corporations that are the biggest donors to their campaigns?
                Oh wait, you only care when you can get yourself plastered in a newspaper and PRETEND to care in exchange for fame.
                You are no better than the politicians then, if that’s the case.
                I am not assaulting you, nor am I stalking you.
                I wish only the very best for you and your church.
                I only wish to point out the inane hypocrisy of your statements.
                How can you believe that God gave all humans free will, but turn around and advocate oppression, either you believe in God or you don’t.
                If God gave man freewill, who are you to take it away? Especially when you are taking rights from a person that hasn’t even done anything wrong?
                I do not advocate drug usage either, but all the government has done is created very wealthy criminals by their unconstitutional actions. In countries where they have decriminalized drugs the crime rate has dropped, so don’t even try that worn out argument.
                The states and feds make a lot of money in the “drug war”.
                Locking up their own citizens has become one of the largest industries in America.
                Selling seized drugs has helped finance hundreds of government programs, locking up Americans has padded the year end bonuses of many thousands of “judges”, and keeping them locked has employed hundreds of thousands more.
                It has also created vile street gangs to aggressively defend their territory, and victimized communities across the nation.
                I don’t see you advocating for the removal of any other policies that are directly impacting all Americans, so save your manure for others that might delude themselves to believe it.

                It is time for Americans to stand up for the truth.

                If you really do trust God, why are you only displaying fear for the world to see?

        • DK says:

          Jesus didn’t alienate people with his views. I’m not equating Pastor Cho to Jesus of course, but you’re making a mistake in thinking that Jesus didn’t alienate people in what people likely interpreted as unpopular political issues.

          • John in Florida says:

            Jesus alienated people because he saw what was in their hearts and spoke to it, and they went away convicted but resisting Him. He wasn’t picking sides in debates about what the Roman government should or shouldn’t do.

            Pastor Cho, I respect your heart and believe your motivation is sincere. However, I think you don’t realize the message you are conveying to those of us who disagree with you on the gun laws issue. Personally, it leaves me inclined to categorize you as just another idiot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. If I was part of your church I’d be so upset by you taking that uninformed (in my humble opinion) position on the issue that I’d probably leave and never come back.

            Is that how you want to be known to people? Is that Paul becoming all things to all people that some might be saved? As a fellow Christian who cares about your testimony, I suggest you keep yourself elevated above this fracas and keep your focus on higher things.

  19. Thank you, Pastor Cho, for your important witness for peace. You are a class act.

  20. drkrek says:

    I am pretty confident that Jesus, while not imposing himself on freedom of others to bear arms, would not pack himself. His disciples one would presume, would follow his perfect lead if they had true faith

  21. Sue says:

    I’m so sorry, Eugene. Some of these people and comments are ruthless.

    • B H says:

      Yes, my comments definitely were ruthless.
      Born of frustration, it was a clumsy and desperate attempt to open minds.
      I did not mean to come off as come crack pot extremest, and I apologize if I somehow caused any fear.
      I miss going to church, I miss the fellowship, but I can’t force myself to be silent in face of all that could be done by Christians, raising their voices to be heard on the many social issues and insane policies being enacted that are destroying the core of traditional American values.
      “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.
      We see that everywhere today.
      So many Christians believe these are the end times, and eagerly await the next “sign”, so they don’t bother to do anything that may delay the inevitable.
      I can’t accept that, I don’t want to face Christ at my end and have to tell him I understood the deceptions, but refused to do anything because it caused people to ridicule me and made people feel bad.
      I understand the government has a choke hold on all churches, and has a standing threat of pulling the 501 status.
      The only “churches” they allow to say anything are spewing hate and division, thereby advancing the governments own agenda.

      I’m going to unsubscribe from this blog, and you’ll not hear from me again.

      I wish you all peace, and may you be blessed in this coming year.

  22. Mick says:

    The ideas possibly of stopping mass murders like this , where armed murderers go into gun free zones with these repeating guns may have some validity , I would hope we do bury the dead first before we rush to remedies though . I do not like guns myself , own none , but the NRA members I know at work through my Union job sure are not supporters of the religious right and I do not consier them advocates of violence . Jesus would sure not have written this editorial .

  23. J.Hemingway says:

    Investment in the state’s mental-health system to promote well-being among those at risk for committing acts of violence.

    I wish we would here this being talked about more by our nations leaders.

    An end to the glorification of violence in the media and in games played by young people.

    If you google this topic you would know that several studies in neurology and behavioral science have thoroughly disproved this theory. There is no proven link behind watching violent movies and playing violent video games. I we going to prevent kids from playing fort, or knights, because it involves violence? Who are you to disrespect the God given Free Will of another human being? Where does the invasive line stop?
    While I am not saying lets each do whatever, social construct be damned, I am saying there has to be a line drawn as to what society as a whole can tell the individual in regards to how he or she lives.

    • Manny says:

      The big issue in this matter is not gun control…I feel folks often jump on their political soap box or agenda…This is a matter of the heart…People that commit these acts of violence need Christ…They need mental health help…We need to educate our society, community leaders, and civil servants on signs of homicide and suicide…I am in the US Army and have witnessed violence on all levels…The greatest weapon is not a rifle but the condition of the human heart…

    • Manny says:

      Hemingway I just Googled “violent video games desensitized children” and found this http://psychcentral.com/news/2006/07/28/video-games-desensitize-to-real-violence/137.html

      “Their paper reports that past research — including their own studies — documents that exposure to violent video games increases aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, physiological arousal and aggressive behaviors, and decreases helpful behaviors. Previous studies also found that more than 85 percent of video games contain some violence, and approximately half of video games include serious violent actions”

  24. Manny says:

    The big issue in this matter is not gun control…I feel folks often jump on their political soap box or agenda…This is a matter of the heart…People that commit these acts of violence need Christ…They need mental health help…We need to educate our society, community leaders, and civil servants on signs of homicide and suicide…I am in the US Army and have witnessed violence on all levels…The greatest weapon is not a rifle but the condition of the human heart…

  25. Two more things: Smaller high school size & improve mental health care by increasing availability and providing for the commitment of sick individuals.

  26. Hi.

    I respect those who feel as strongly as they do about a topic like gun-control and can communicate their passion in such a way that isn’t…disruptive.

    As I’m sure you guessed by that opening sentence I have points of disagreement; but rather than picking at “dichotomies” and “semantics” (which I’m annoyingly good at, by the way), I’d rather, briefly, give you some of the concerns that require a more…pastoral answer.

    (As an aside, I realize you’re not calling for the ban of all weapons. However, to take away those tools from the general public would leave them over matched against their police and military counterparts, effectively making the public unable to defend themselves from their government.)

    – History a shown that, time and again, a disarmed population is a vulnerable one. The Chinese, Jews, Ugandans; and other nations know what its like to endure mass violence without the ability to fight back. Not to presume the American government would go to such extremes but this is the same body that institutionalized racism and, as late as seventy years ago, imprisoned Japanese simply for their race. And, today, imprison people without due process.

    – If the liberty of owning a gun is taken away, other liberties will soon follow. The constant battle between liberty and security rages on and I tend to follow Benjamin’s Franklin’s line of reasoning when he say, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” I see liberty as the best kind of safety in spite of the gun violence that’s been reported. As in the cases of men who stopped mass violence with their own guns.

    – You rightfully say that everyone is trying to make sense of this shooting…of all the shootings. For you, the answer is more refined than simply saying, “guns are THE problem” (as opposed to A problem). Yet for most, gun-control is the first and last answer to solve such tragedies. The blame for lack of such “control,” is placed on the NRA which s treated as a corporate lobbying group, rather than a group of 10 million U.S. citizens.

    I want peace too. I simply don’t see gun-control as the answer to usher in such a peace. As clichè as the answer is, it remains true: Only Jesus will usher in peace. In part, that peace is realized when the Holy Spirit resides in us; and there will be a day when, in full, Jesus will set it right.

    I’ll leave it at that as I understand you have better things to do than answer all these questions/criticisms on your blog. What you do is hard and I only care to place the right kind of pressure in order to help you understand, in part, the needs and wants of others.

    You’re loved,
    Garrett

  27. If all else fails you can join us here in Australia!

    We don’t have assault weapons in homes & we haven’t thought of having armed guards in schools.

    Sorry but it’s hard for us to imagine living that way.

  28. Scott Emery says:

    I appreciate your article and your concerns are valid. However, while you are clearly well-intentioned you also seem uninformed as to the effectiveness — both historical and potential — of a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. In case you are interested, here is a well-written article on the subject. http://kontradictions.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/why-not-renew-the-assault-weapons-ban-well-ill-tell-you/

    By the way, I am also an peace-supporting, evangelical pastor from gun-loving Texas who has never owned nor plans to own a firearm. Please allow those facts to speak to you of my objectivity regarding this issue. Regards and God bless, Scott

  29. Andy says:

    I think he would do the same thing with guns that he did with swords. Thanks for your article!

  30. Julia Smucker says:

    I totally agree, except that multitasking is not necessary in the way you’re describing it, because preaching the Gospel and pursuing shalom were never two separate tasks to begin with.

  31. Bonnie says:

    More unborn babies are killed via abortion than children being murdered by a deranged gun man. No one speaks for them!??

  32. steve says:

    Jesus wouldn’t ban guns anymore than he ban swords.

    You miss the point that it is the godless, self-centered, narcissistic, and violent culture of America that causes these tragedies.

    Jesus would treat the heart condition, he came to teach us to love God and others. You missed that.

  33. stevepage says:

    “More unborn babies are killed via abortion than children being murdered by a deranged gun man. No one speaks for them!??”

    Right! Where is the outrage for the million of babies kiled by abortion?

  34. Sister Pamela Pranke OPA says:

    Thank you for a no nonsense, Biblical commentary on Jesus and guns.

  35. […] And as we mourn and pray, there will come a time. Another time. Again. To ask the question about guns and violence in our culture and society. Seriously, what would Jesus do with guns? […]

  36. Jeremy says:

    I respect your position and we do need some common sense laws, mainly dealing with mental health issues. Most of those other ones won’t make a difference, criminals and mental people don’t follow laws. We have tons of gun laws, so many that are hardly enforced. Without help from the legislature and courts it is impossible to fix.
    Also, the vast majority of shootings are with handguns, not assault rifles. Plus other crime besides homicide just skyrockets, ask the British. From experience as a police officer for 14 years, I can recall one shooting with an assault type rifle that I responded to, but a ton of handgun shootings. I have no good answer, I agree things need to change, but it’s more a downfall of people problem than anything else. With the whole country moving away from church, it’s sadly really not surprising……..

  37. […] cheek. This bias means that my own thinking is very much in alignment with Eugene Cho in his post What would Jesus do with guns?. I am not looking for an internet battle, but instead by stating my own opinion, I am opening […]

  38. Doc David says:

    Did you actually examine the statistic you mentioned about the 74 school shootings? CNN did. perhaps you should check it out and then you will see it’s a very misleading stat. I also think you may want to consider pushing Seattle to not spend millions on bike lanes and instead put that money into mental health services.

  39. Cmll says:

    Why not teach or children to love one another and respect each other and reach out to the broken. Instead of regulations and regulating what people can and cannot own? Why not lend a helping hand to the fatherless and motherless in out generator. To those lost and see how much gun voilence, suicide and drug addiction drop statistically. Why not teach christs love without ridicule and rejection?

  40. Bob C. says:

    Let’s see… Jesus said:

    “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.” Luke 11:21

    “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Luke 22:36

    Indeed, when one of his disciples cut the ear off of the priest’s servant, he didn’t say “get rid of that sword,” he simply said to stop, indicating that defending him (Jesus) wasn’t necessary.

    Also, the “74 school shootings since Sandy Hook” figure comes from Bloomburg’s latest gun control group, a decidedly biased source; furthermore, CNN looked into their figures, and found most of the shootings were gang related, targeted shootings (not random crazy attacks), or accidents. Of the 74, in fact, only 15 met the definition most people would call a “school shooting” (i.e. someone bent on random mass murder).

    Of all your solutions, only one would likely result in a positive outcome. One at a time:

    –A ban on all assault and assault-style weapons, including a buyback of such weapons.

    Such weapons are used in so few crimes (as in, almost none), there would be no appreciable change, if any, in violent crime.

    –A ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines.

    Such bans have never been shown to affect violent crime.

    –Universal background checks, including at gun shows

    Do your research; every mass shooting I’ve heard of, the weapons had been purchased legally and with background checks.

    –Requirements for trigger locks and safe gun storage.

    Trigger locks are a disaster waiting to happen; placing a trigger lock on a loaded gun (and all guns should be considered loaded) makes it possible to fire the gun without intending to. And requiring such devices not only sets you up for such a possibility, but also means your gun meant for protection is no longer available quickly in case of an armed assailant in your home.

    –Microstamping technology on all firearms sold, bought or delivered in the state to improve bullet tracing by law enforcement.

    Too easy to defeat. Worthless.

    –Investment in the state’s mental-health system to promote well-being among those at risk for committing acts of violence.

    Absolutely! Let’s identify the mental issues at hand, not vilify inanimate objects.

    –An end to the glorification of violence in the media and in games played by young people.

    There is no evidence that violence in media and games causes violence. In fact, as games have become more and more violent, and more and more realistic, violent crime (including murder) has REDUCED DRASTICALLY. Indeed, we are at a 50 year low, and haven’t been this statistically safe since the early 1960’s (source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports). Perhaps, in fact, there is a cathartic affect from such games that reduces violent tendencies “in real life,” but regardless it’s pretty clear they don’t CAUSE violence.

    For that matter, as more and more people own more guns (we own 88 guns per 100 people!!!), as more states (all 50 now) have allowed some sort of gun carry, and despite the sunsetting of the of the 1994 “assault weapons and high capacity magazine gun ban” which expired in 2004, we are seeing violent crime – including murder, with or without firearms – continue on a downward trend. Again, despite a higher rate of gun ownership, and despite all states now allowing gun carry, and despite realistic, violent video games, you haven’t been this statistically safe in the past 50 years…

  41. Steven says:

    Eugene , you advocate for no assault rifles , do you live in a fantasy that we can comply with everything on that list and there will no longer be sorrow and tears .? There will always be pain and suffering in this world . What would happen if another country invaded America ? A Third World War in our front yards ? It wasn’t long ago that the war of 1812 occurred on our soil. And if this happened you think you can rely on our government and military for protection ? Or would u wish we were armed with weapons that could protect us ?

    I agree with the mental illness part and gun locks , but high capacity magazines and assault rifles ? Don’t let the emotion of school shootings affect rational thinking ? The best thing would be to install metal detectors in schools and or pay for guards , there are thousands of unemployed vets that would love to protect children in schools . Your plan of action in this ( gun debate ) is so far from what is best for this country . I agree that we as Christians must push for the conversation but please don’t let your emotion override .

  42. Shannon says:

    Totally agree with you, Huge. At the same time (and I am not a member of the NRA or even a gun lover or anything like that), it’s not just the availability of guns that remains a problem. I think that as a culture we promote violence, and particularly gun-related violence. For decades now kids have seen more and more guns, shooting, violence, murder, etc. on television (and even in commercials!), movies, and video games (that now not only occupy our living rooms and our kids’ bedrooms but also are carried in backpacks and devices in our pockets!). The stuff has been promoted and glorified, and we (as a culture and as parents and as the Christian community) have largely ignored this movement. It’s tragic in so many ways. … Jesus, his gospel, and the kingdom are our only hope.

  43. Emily says:

    I agree with all you’ve said here, Eugene, and it makes me beyond sad to read the comments (I couldn’t even read all of them; it was too depressing). Thanks for the work you’re doing, and I pray that God would transform hearts across our nation about this issue.

  44. D. says:

    According to the FBI, more people are killed with hammers and clubs every year, than by Guns.

    Where’s the Outrage against assault hammers?

  45. Well Jesus did personally make sure that his group was armed with swords (the guns of the day) before He led them to Gethsemane. It was not enough that the Roman troops and the Temple guards were armed. He made sure they had personal weapons.He had legions of angels at His beck and call, and still does. You can be a pacifist if you are squeamish, but the God of the Bible is not for the squeamish. He is no effete sissy. And he did eat fish, cook fish, caught fish, shared fish and the passover lamb with others. Not a vegan. He has used armies and weapons before and will again. Blood will be spilled. Maranatha!

  46. Anthony says:

    I wish I hadn’t read the comments section in the original article. Now I feel like I want a drink. The vitriol was amazing and depressing.

    It seems, broadly speaking, that Americans cherish individual liberty above all else. And American Christians are no exception. So… what do we say to those who have lost sons, daughters, wives, husbands, and friends to this kind of violence? “Sorry for your loss, but rest easy in knowing that my Second Amendment rights have been upheld?”

    Yeah. I think I will go get that drink.

  47. Brenda W. says:

    I have read everything written thus far and no one yet seems to have an answer as to why other nations who curb guns e.g no one is allowed to have them…do not have the same rate of gun deaths as we do? Every other nation deals with mental illness as well…it is not unique to America…I really don’t want to hear about the 2nd Amendment because it can be taking in various ways to prove the other side wrong or right….On the flip side of this you can look at Switzerland who has a HUGE gun ownership rate and look at their death by guns..its still very low as in 40 deaths by guns in 2011….but to get a gun in Switzerland you need to go through so many steps including firearms safety. I am pretty sure they have mental illness in Switzerland as well. So instead of saying “its your right” or “cure the crazy people” why don’t we LEARN from other nations and have a debate without getting our panties all in a bunch! It can happen..we just need to try.

  48. Tom H. says:

    Regardless of your stance on guns, restricting or banning is not going to have the desired effect. You’re addressing the manifestation of the problem and not the cause. If you look at the 15 out of those 74 incidents referenced that are truly school shootings (CNN breaks it down) you’ll see common themes of bullying and/or emotional disturbances. If a person has no access to firearms, a lot of damage can be done with common kitchen knives or even a car as we’ve recently seen.

    We as a society owe it to those suffering to address that suffering and find a way to ease it. But that’s not easy to do for a myriad of reasons. When we treat the cause we will see a reduction in violence. If we’re going to follow the example Christ set, we need to reach out to those among us that need it most. And also set an example of Love, Caring and Respect for others to follow.

  49. Don says:

    They didn’t have guns in Jesus’ day, but they had swords. Oddly, Jesus didn’t say much about swords. He never carried one, but at least one of his followers did. While Jesus did say that “he who draws the sword shall die by the sword,” (condemning violence) he told his followers in Luke 22:36 “if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (perhaps advocating self defense in at least some situations?).

    Jesus wasn’t about weapons. He was about the heart, out of which can come hatred, violence, and murder. In Matthew 6 he said that being merely angry with someone is akin to murder, and hurling angry expletives at people can literally put you in danger of hell fire. The problem in America these days is that many people’s hearts are increasingly murderously hateful and violent, making gun ownership (for protection of self and family) increasingly necessary among everyday law-abiding people. It’s not because our society is getting closer to Jesus, but farther away.

    • Jonathan says:

      What a great comment don. In reality im very tired of this debate. The SCOTUS has held that the second ammendment protects the personal ownership of guns. Lets be honest, what is going to happen once the state decides that jesus is a bad word? Its getting closer every day! Im also very tired of uninformed people throwing out statements about either guns or the rights we have to own them in this country. Fact: automatic weapons are illegal unless you have a very expensive license. FACT: 80+ % of the “school related shootings” are the liberal media pushing a highly inflated number including police shooting someone with a knife on school grounds, domestic incidents and gang shootings in parks and parking lots close to the school, etc. The FACT is most of the “mass” shootings occurred in “gun free zones”. FACT: in the recent shooting in california the mentally ill suspect STABBED 3 people and hit more with his car. The media just pushed the fact that he used a gun. Him not having a gun wouldnt have saved his roomates…. Jesus may have chosen not to carry a weapon, but lets not be bold enough to assume he believed weapons were bad.

  50. Nancy says:

    Small Government Times offers a summary:

    The Harvard study attempts to answer the question of whether or not banning firearms would reduce murders and suicides. Researchers looked at crime data from several European countries and found that countries with HIGHER gun ownership often had LOWER murder rates.

    Russia, for example, enforces very strict gun control on its people, but its murder rate remains quite high. In fact, the murder rate in Russia is four times higher tahn in the “gun-ridden” United States, cites the study. ”Homicide results suggest that where guns are scarce other weapons are substituted in killings.” In other words, the elimination of guns does not eliminate murder, and in the case of gun-controlled Russia, murder rates are quite high.

    The study revealed several European countries with significant gun ownership, like Norway, Finland, Germany and France – had remarkably low murder rates. Contrast that with Luxembourg, “where handguns are totally banned and ownership of any kind of gun is minimal, had a murder rate nine times higher than Germany in 2002.

    The study found no evidence to suggest that the availability of guns contributes to higher murder rates anywhere in the world. “Of course, it may be speculated that murder rates around the world would be higher if guns were more available. But there is simply no evidence to support this.”

    The authors also took a look at the effect of gun control laws in various U.S. states, gun ownership in rural and urban areas, and across racial lines. The long and short of it is that a small number of extremely active criminals with lengthy criminal records are responsible for the overwhelming super-majority of all gun crimes, and these criminals are psychopaths that ignore all laws.

    The study also cited a previous report that was unable to find a single gun control law implemented in the United States that is proven to have reduced violent crime.

  51. Anthony says:

    Full disclosure. I taught target sports (including rifles) in college during my summers. I still occasionally go to the range. I have no objection to firearms. I do not own one, by my wife’s request.

    But I know full well how dangerous the rifles we used were, and how much damage they can do. And these were ‘just’ bolt-action .22s. Pea shooters in comparison to what you can buy.

    Yet it still amazes me that in my country, it’s easier to acquire said firearms than it is to get a license to drive a car. Or to FISH, for that matter, depending on what you want to catch.

    It amazes me even further that even the very act of having a national conversation about sensible firearm acquisition and safety seems to be interpreted as a borderline treasonous act in the minds of some pro-gun advocates.

    For better or for worse, firearms are a part of our national DNA. The Government(TM) is not plotting to take your guns. (And actually, even if they did, you’d be facing the might of the US military with your semiautomatic rifle. Good luck with that.) And hey, even if you don’t trust our government…. you can probably trust our capitalist system to keep a lucrative gun/ammo market going for a very long time.

    But the notion that the Second Amendment is blanket carte blanche for unfettered access would be considered ludicrous if that same reasoning were applied to any of the other parts of the Constitution. This is not ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty’ as some would like to define it. That’s an insult to the men and women who really ARE dying in REAL repressive regimes over basic human rights. This is about the kind of country we want to leave to our children, and to each other.

    I’m sorry you’re getting so much flak on this from those you would wish to call brother, Eugene.

  52. Mitchell says:

    You all realize that “assault style” rifles like the AR-15 are utilized in less than three percent of all crimes committed utilizing firearms, right? The round it fires was adapted from varmit hunting. The overwhelming majority of crimes committed using a firearm are with handguns. All of your arguments are based upon fallacious rhetoric and emotion; extremely naive. Violent crime per capita is at 20 year low; with rates comparable to other developed nations. Gun deaths per capita are higher in the United States; but two thirds of the deaths included in the statistics are suicides. Your recommendations would make shooting and hunting hobbies only the rich would be able to afford; something I resent. I do agree with the bullet point on mental health, however. Frankly, despite any beliefs I might hold, what Jesus may have thought or not is irrelevant (I’m sure I could argue the opposite stance just as easily by cherry picking quotes from the Old and New Testament) in a secular society that is a constitutional government such as ours, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. If someone wants to change it, they must go through the proper legal channels. Sorry. If our sole objective is to decrease violent crime, then focusing solely on one type of semi-automatic rifle seems pretty ineffective. This is the reason firearm owners are unwilling to compromise, we have been told repeatedly that we are too incompetent and dangerous to own certain types of firearms despite any prior experience in military and law enforcement. We are told that people don’t support outright bans, but then you argue for the strict regulation of ammunition that would make the cost ammunition astronomical. Moving somewhere else wouldn’t be such a bad idea!

  53. Charles says:

    1. There clearly needs to be some improvement here in the regs
    2. It is also important that normal adult Americans know how to responsibly handle firearms.
    3. This issue will never be solved by the extremists on both sides, the balanced people in the middle will eventually come to a solution.

  54. Michael M. says:

    1. I would like to see a citation regarding the Harvard research mentioned above. I’m skeptical of the conclusions drawn by the “small government times” magazine. For example, what was the time frame of the research and did it take into consideration the screening and licensing proceed for gun ownership in those countries?

    2. Can we all please stop trying to use Jesus’ very minimal references to a sword to justify our position on either side? If you take those passages in context you might see that it is a critique of both the disciples for their misunderstandings of Jesus’ mission and of 1st century Judaism at the time that naively kept looking a for a political messiah that would lead the fight to throw off Roman oppression. Jesus wept because they did not know the way of peace. To this day that is still the case in Israel.

    3. If you consider the overall narrative of the gospels and the way of Jesus, isnt it definitely a call to overcome evil and fear with love and sacrifice and not violent resistance to evil?

    4. Let’s not be naive about mental illness or mental disorders. This isn’t just solved by love and community. Sometimes you can’t teach empathy or overcome depression and the best you can do is find ways to insure guns are not accessible to people who struggle in this way.

    5. Let’s be careful not to equate gun rights with religious liberty. There is a lot of slippery slope argumentation above that is based on fear. 6. I would suggest that fear is the root cause of these issues in American culture, fear of government, fear of the “other,” fear of losing your rights, your stuff, your security. Maybe we have made an idolatry of freedom and security that causes us to live in fear of losing it? If there is any merit to what I’ve said above, how does perfect love overcome fear?

  55. Nate Redmond says:

    Many will say it’s not the guns that kill people, it’s people that kill people. I agree with this, but to a certain extent. People kill people but really only because they fall into the trap of the enemy. Satan wants you and every other person out there to believe that he is not responsible nor has anything to do with the continued shootings. Because the strongest enemy is the enemy that you do not know is your enemy. When you say that we should ban assault rifles and large capacity magazines, I believe you are missing the true threat. The threat is the father of lies. He wants you to think that assault rifles are allowing, encouraging, prohibiting, or facilitating the violence because it takes the blame off of him. What if America recognized him as more of a threat and we collectively prayed that the God would recover our nation with his protection. The real issue our nation faces is bigger than guns, shootings, homosexuality, marijuana, ect. All of those things are merely a part of Satan’s plan and are infiltrating our nation. But why? America is becoming a nation so obsessed with freedom of choice above all else that we commonly forget to yield to the authority of the King. Unfortunately this is the desire of the enemy. I believe you are on track as you recognize that the number of shootings are increasing, but I know that it’s not the only thing that is increasing. Take a look around, watch the news. I pray that you recognize that the real threat to our nation and world, is the evil one that is trying to drive us into the ground in every way. He’s the threat and no matter what, he’s going to continue to try to maim us. If you take away assault rifles, the people you don’t want to have them will probably still have them. If you take away handguns, the people you don’t want to have them will find a way to get them. Black markets will emerge and trading will allow evil to continue to work it’s way deeper and deeper into our society. In order to eradicate the issues that you and I are bothered by: i.e. Innocent death and maliciousness in general, we have to get to the root of the problem. Squeezing one part of the balloon only makes another bulge in it’s place. Your suggestions are merely squeezing one part of the balloon. Although I could not tell you how to remove the problem completely, I do recognize the problem as a much larger matter.
    In the mighty name of Jesus,
    Nate

  56. Marcus says:

    This article is what happens when you take an attribute of God and make it a totality. This reminds me of the question, if God is so loving why would He send someone to hell. I have multiple problems with this question but for the sake of this article, the question see’s God as only loving and not JUST as well.

    While Jesus is the “prince of peace” He is also a WARRIOR KING! Let us review Matthew 10:34 “Do not suppose I come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”
    Would Jesus own a gun? NO, he has a sword, and when He comes back to establish His kingdom on earth BILLIONS of people are going to die.
    God is many wonderful things. There is no contradiction in love and justice. We see a Jesus who is going to establish peace by removing the kingdom of darkness everything that hinders his love.
    I hear people who say “the Jesus/God I know wouldnt do that”…. well sorry in all honesty, then you dont know God(father)/Jesus/Holy Spirit.
    I think it important to emphasize that Jesus is the only one Just enough to fulfill this task, and until He returns we should not take matters into our own hands.

  57. Stephen G. says:

    First, I own guns. ALOT of them. Big ones, Small ones, some as big as your head!

    Second, I am a Member of the NRA (WAIT DON’T STOP READING) my dad signed my sister and I up and paid the dues. I do not align myself completely with views of the NRA, some of these guys are fanatics.

    Third, I am a Baptist (WAIT DON’T STOP READING) I was born into a Baptist church going family… my Dad pays my dues here also! I do not align myself completely with the views of the SBC… Some of these guys are fanatics.

    I am a hard working husband and father, with 2 boys and a third child (gender unknown, ultrasound hasn’t happened yet) on the way.

    I just want you to know about me before you make some judgment on who I am based on the words of my post.

    (the following information is irrelevant, but if you must know I am a 27 year old white male, living in the state of Virginia, but grew up in Texas)

    Here it goes:

    I like guns, I grew up with them so there is a familiarity and a comfort with them. My wife, not so much. ok let me clarify, there is a familiarity and comfort with my wife, and I like her too. She does not have a familiarity and comfort with guns. Though she has kind of warmed up to them since we married.

    I have fired all sorts of guns, never at a person, ok never at a real live person. In high school I almost shot a card board cutout of Troy Aikman because I came home to a intruder in my house… I digress…

    I have had fun with Assault rifles, muzzle loaders, pistols, high powered rifles, shotguns, a Desert Eagle. rubber band guns, water guns… and the list goes on.

    As a Citizen of the United States of America I believe it is my right to own and operate fire arms for the following reasons: necessity of food, necessity of the safety of others, necessity of Fun, necessity of protection against a tyrannical government.

    But, all of those things are situational. There are very few things in the world that are clear cut, black and white.

    What I understand, is there is evil, lets call it what it is…Sin.

    I have 2 major questions though.

    1. by eliminating guns and creating a gun free culture that is safe, are we creating an opportunity for people to know Christ more?

    2. By exercising and defending our rights as Americans, are we elevating the freedoms we have in the constitution over the freedoms we have in Christ?

    to answer the first one… I don’t know. I doubt it. but I don’t think it can be proven either way.

    to answer Question 2… We do this often…

    I can tell you this, I answer to a high Authority than the government of the USA, but that higher Authority says that I should honor any authority placed above me. So I will not fight to keep, or fight to disarm. but I will honor which ever decision is made.

    and If I am disarmed and good ole Merica falls to tyranny, that doesn’t change who I am in Christ. Nor does that change any of my freedoms.

    but rather than arguing for or against gun rights… why don’t we figure out how to help those who are hurting as a result of sin… whether that is gun violence, or drug addictions, or alcohol related homicide. when was the last time you heard Christians debating the best way to help those impacted without attacking a symptom of sin.

  58. Michael says:

    In the name Jesus Pastor Cho, I encourage you to fully investigate the scriptures. You have missed the mark on this topic. Please do more research and post a correction. Here are some places to start:

    http://www.lawandliberty.org/defense.htm

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm

    I find it quite remarkable with the resources available to you, that you would publish this post, unless you were intentionally trying to deceive others. Or you are blind to the truth in God’s word or you want to ignore the word for political or emotional purposes.

  59. […] Essay of the Week (2) Eugene Cho responds to the spate of gun violence in elementary and high schools and colleges and universities. […]

  60. Todd says:

    I think if one were able to have a conversation with Jesus and asked what he thought about guns his response might be surprising. Most of what he said and did was not anticipated by those around him. I think he would move beyond the method by which people were killed and hone in on evil that ultimately killed them. It’s not the gun, or the knife, or even the stone that is the problem. It’s the condition of the heart of the person perpetrating the atrocity. This is what we need to discuss. What causes a young person today to not recognize boundaries and to not value another’s life?

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One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

The 2nd baby turns 14 today. Oh my. How time flies. Every birthday now is bittersweet. So amazed at the young woman she is becoming ... and that much further away from being that little baby. Happy Birthday, @trintaay! The world is fallen, broken, and messy. This is the truth.

But the story is not yet finished. God is not yet done. This is the Truth. There is Hope. God is our Hope.

#Advent #MyanmarSunset #NoFilter #BackHomeSafe In solidarity. From Thailand. #ICantBreathe I'm in Thailand for two days to meet @theexodusroad - one of @onedayswages' partners doing compelling work in the fight against child sex trafficking in Thailand and other countries.

Several of their team members took me and Phillip (one of my staff ) into several brothels as part of their investigation. Needless to say, it was very disturbing but an important experience. Women were scantily dressed and places on stages ... as commodities. As part of the investigation, we spoke with some of these young women to collect information, liberate underaged girls, and shut down brothels that exploit underaged girls. To be honest, it's complicated... The evening was intense and my heart was beating so rapidly...but as the hours passed and my initial shock and fears subsided, I felt the Holy Spirit remind me that God loves each and every person and desires to draw them until Himself.  And so I prayed for these women, men, girls, pimps, johns, mamma sans... Lord, break these strongholds.
Lord, give us courage. When in a remote village in Myanmar, ask local fishermen to teach you their techniques. Then catch a big sea bass with them and have it prepared over a wood fire. Then enjoy it. #thankyoujesus #bucketlist Six years ago in 2008, Cyclone Nargis wiped through Myanmar killing about 140,000 people. We visited 6 villages and the stories were unreal. Some villages had everything destroyed. Every home. Nothing standing. One village had 3 homes left...and everyone in the village stayed there for several days. 
One village had a population of 870 people. Only 120 survived...90% of their village died in a moment. Mothers, fathers, children, siblings, grandparents... It was surreal speaking to them. While you can sense their noticeable scars and emotional pain...it was also humbling and inspiring to tangibly see and feel their hope. Their spirit of unity, community, and courage. For many, their faith in Christ. Their yearning for better things for their children.

This was one of the villages we visited. I spent some time talking and hearing their stories and dreams...and all they could talk about was wanting a better school and education for their children. Again and again. 
It's obvious that the Western world is incredibly rich but in many ways, we are so impoverished ... and have much to learn from our global neighbors.

my tweets

  • "There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more & more. The other is to desire less." - GKC youtube.com/watch?v=EAqNV2… || 15 hours ago
  • If the God of the universe was born in a dirty messy manger, there is no mess in our lives that God is not willing to step into. God cares. || 1 day ago
  • Grieving & praying for the families of the 141 children & school staff killed in #PeshawarAttack. Lord, in your mercy. Lord, come quickly. || 2 days ago
  • The great deception of racism is to exist while many people believing it doesn't exist. Reconciliation first acknowledges pain & brokenness. || 2 days ago
  • God often leads us on journeys we would never go on if it were up to us. Don't be afraid. Take courage. Have faith. Trust God. || 2 days ago
  • Praying for the city and people of Sydney and nation of Australia. We are grieving for this tragedy. #sydneysiege || 3 days ago
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