Proverbs 14:15 MSG
Saturday, March 24, 2018 -- Columbus, Ohio
Those who grow rich by manufacturing killing machines, and their lackeys in the NRA, love to talk about their dubious “God given right” to make, sell, and own guns. But that so-called right is not God given, my friends. It comes from the minds of the privileged, white men who wrote and ratified the Constitution of the United States 229 years ago this month. It is, literally, a man made right and privilege. There is no divinity in it.
So, today, we gather together to put the lie to the claim of divine approval for gun ownership. Today, we are met in this place to speak of real God given rights, rights that have been conveniently forgotten by those who worship at the altar of weaponry.
It was not in the Constitution but in the Declaration of Independence that those God given rights were first articulated, when Thomas Jefferson, borrowing from philosopher, John Locke, and reminded us that we are all created equal and that we are endowed by our Creator “with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Those are our God given rights, brothers and sisters. And they are the rights that are being stolen from us, our children, and our grandchildren by those who insist that their manufactured and unfettered right to own instruments of death somehow trump our rights to live and be free.
Gun fetishists speak loudly of their rights but tell me, please, what about the rights of Hannah Ahlers, the 34-year-old, a wife of 17 years, and the mother of three young children who was killed in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire on country music concert?
What about the rights of Jesse Lewis, 6 years old, "just a happy, little boy" who was supposed to make gingerbread houses with his family after school but was gunned down, killed at Sandy Hook?
And what about the rights of Scott Beigel, a geography teacher who was gunned down after he opened and attempted to relock his door to let a group of students into his classroom at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida just a few, short days ago?
What about the rights of the 461 people who were killed in mass shootings last year, and the 11,000 killed by guns in the USA every year? What about their rights? Their God-given rights of life and liberty?
Well, according to the gun manufacturers, their lickspittles at the NRA, and the gun worshippers whose god is the killing machine and whose holy writ is the 2nd amendment, the answer is more guns. More guns in people’s hands and more bullets in the air. This is their prescription for life, liberty, and happiness.
And this, brothers and sisters, is idolatry of the most blatant and egregious kind. By it they cultivate hate and fear so they can justify arming themselves with instruments of pain and death against the very neighbors we are called to love. It is surrender to that hopelessness and despair that would turn this country into a state of perpetual war between, in their words, “good guys with guns and bad guys with guns.” It is the destruction of every good principle, every good value, every good thing that people of faith proclaim and upon which this country was founded.
And it is for that reason that we are gathered here, today, to say to these disciples of violence, “No. We’ve had enough. You shall not press down upon the brow of youth this thorny crown made of bullets. You shall not crucify our children and grandchildren upon a cross made of guns.”
LET US PRAY:
GRACIOUS AND LOVING GOD
CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE AND ALL THAT IS IN IT
WE COME TO YOU WITH HUMBLE AND CONTRITE HEARTS
FORGIVE OUR PROCLIVITY FOR VIOLENCE
FORGIVE OUR FAILURE TO LOVE OUR ENEMIES AS YOU HAVE COMMANDED US TO DO
FORGIVE OUR ARROGANCE AND PRIDE
FORGIVE US WHEN WE PLACE OUR FAITH AND TRUST IN INSTRUMENTS OF DEATH AND NOT IN YOUR LOVE AND KINDNESS
WALK WITH US, O GOD, AS WE SEEK TO BE PEOPLE OF PEACE AND LOVE
ARM US WITH GRACE
ARMOUR US WITH LOVE
BLANKET US WITH RECONCILIATION
AND MAKE US INSTRUMENTS OF YOUR PEACE
WHERE THERE IS HATRED, LET US SOW LOVE
WHERE THERE IS INJURY, PARDON
WHERE THERE IS DESPAIR, HOPE
WHERE THERE IS SADNESS, JOY
WHERE THERE IS DARKNESS, LIGHT.
GRANT, O GOD, THAT WE MAY NOT SO MUCH SEEK TO BE CONSOLED AS TO CONSOLE,
TO BE UNDERSTOOD AS TO
TO BE LOVED AS TO LOVE.
Walk in peace, brothers and sisters.
Walk in peace.
Dean Feldmeyer is the author of 5 novels, 4 non-fiction books, three plays, and over 100 essays, articles, poems, and short stories, some of which can be found on this web site.