Christian Mythbusters

Christian Mythbusters

Christianity, the Gun Lobby, and Peacemakers

June 01, 2022

This is Father Jared Cramer from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven, Michigan, here with today’s edition of Christian Mythbusters, a regular segment I offer to counter some common misconceptions about the Christian faith. 

We’ve all had around a week to process it, but I know many of you are still reeling from the horror of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Two dead teachers. Nineteen dead elementary school children. As I read of how the gunman locked himself in a classroom with those kids and that this was how they all died, I felt my spirit tear inside of me. I could not wait to get home and hug my own child a little more closely. 

I’ve been trying to think about what to say, what to write, about this tragedy and how we, as a society, should respond to it. I’ve written and spoken so many times about gun control by now, that it feels hollow to pull all that out yet again. But I’ll try. I’ll try this week, as I try to break the myths—or perhaps, more accurately, the systemic sin—about Christianity and its relationship to the gun lobby in our nation.

I mean, we know. We know that 92% of Americans favor mandatory background checks for all gun sales. We know that 75% of Americans support a 30-day waiting period for all gun sales and 70% of Americans support mandatory registration of all privately-owned guns with the police. We know that 77% of Americans support laws that would allow a family member to seek a court order to temporarily take away guns if they feel a gun owner might harm themselves or others. We know that 70% of Americans support police filing that same order. We know that 68% of Americans support raising the legal age at which a person can purchase certain firearms from 18 to 21. We know that 56%, still well over half of Americans, support banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15 which have no purpose other than being a weapon of war and death.

And we know that the majority of Republicans support almost all of these measures.

We know all of these things… and yet we do nothing. We do nothing because our legislative system is broken, particularly when it comes to gun reform. And we know that a good deal of that legislative system is owned by the National Rifle Association, meaning almost no Republicans would vote for the very sensible and bipartisan measures we know people support, measures that would absolutely save lives. 

And the fact that pastors and faith leaders don’t call out this broken system, the fact that churches don’t take to the street to protest the failure of legislators to make our country safer for her residents… to make schools safer for our kids… it boggles the mind. It breaks my heart. And it makes me very angry.

On Thursday, June 9, my parish, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven, will be holding a Requiem Vigil and Mass of Advocacy for Victims of Gun Violence. The service will be at 6pm and anyone who is interested is welcome to attend. 

We chose that date because it is the feast day of the great St. Columba. Columba was a monk in the sixth century who was active in both Ireland and Scotland. He had a strong personality and preached forcefully in ways that often stirred up opposition. He wound up exiled to Scotland, but remained active in Irish politics and Scottish politics, always working for peace in his land. In fact, his name is derived from the Latin word for dove, as we worked for a peace that was just and holy, a peace that was inherently political.

Jesus told us in Matthew, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” And it is time. It is long past time for all Christians, no matter your political persuasion, to stand up and work to bring peace because our country is being torn apart by gun violence. Children, minorities, and all sorts of people are victims every day. 

We don’t even hear reports on all school shootings because they happen too often. There have been seventy-seven school shootings on campuses just this year. In addition to Uvalde, there have been two others where more than four people were shot. And I bet most of us couldn’t even name those schools.

We must make peace. Each and every one of us. The church must stop being known as one of the biggest supporters of gun rights in our country, bought, sold, and paid for. Instead, the body of Christ needs to get to work making peace. 

Because the cost of this fantasy of an unrestricted right for every person to own firearms, no matter their lethal capacity… this fantasy must be challenged. It must end. And it won’t, until the church stands up and says, enough.

Thanks for being with me. To find out more about my parish, you can go to Until next time, remember, protest like Jesus, love recklessly, and live your faith out in a community that accepts you but also challenges you to be better tomorrow than you are today.