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Violence is America’s religion

Violence is America’s religion

Helen Ubinas writes in the Philadelphia Daily News that violence is our religion. We are alternately entertained and horrified by it and each day the weight of it all threatens to bury us all.

We talk so much about politics being our religion, about sports being our religion, about religion being our religion.

Jesus, look around: Violence is our religion. We worship at its altar.

It’s become our national devotion. We’re sad, we’re mad, we’ve been wronged, we want to get even, we want to go down in a blaze of deranged glory and we turn violent.

And how we react, or don’t react, to whose lives are affected by the violence has become more divisive than any religious or political view. Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.

The truth: No lives matter, because if they did, the moment to prove that was when a roomful of babies were massacred in a Connecticut elementary school or when nine faithful churchgoers were executed in a weekly South Carolina bible study or when the blood of generations of nameless, faceless young people stains city streets all across this country.


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Rod Gillis

The Helen Ubinas article reminds me, in some ways, of Malcolm Boyd’s writing style in, Are You running With Me Jesus? There is clearly a context to the passion and reason that pour out in the Ubinas’ piece. However, with some trepidation, commenting from the outside, may I suggest that the notion of “violence is our religion” must be qualified. Violence was not the religion of Dr. King, Jonathan Daniels, Madeline Dorsey, or Kayla Mueller, to name a few. Violence takes many forms. Few nations and cultures are exempt. If violence is our religion, then it is a universal religion.

Shirley O'Shea

Thank you for posting this. At my church, someone left on a table where daily devotional booklets are usually placed for parishioners a copy of an NRA-affiliated magazine. I tore the thing up and threw it away. I always imagine Christ asking professing Christians who are also gun advocates, “Exactly WHY do you want that gun?”

Chris Harwood

Hmm, depends on which magazine/group. There are a few Christian organizations for hunting/shooting sportsmen and also the attitude of the person leaving it. I know people who never buy hamburger and very little red meat because they hunt for it every fall. Most of them are doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and technicians. Not everyone who hunts is a hill-billy. Of course most of them will next cross the threshold of a church for their funerals, or never, because they think all Christians are judging them for one reason or another. Are all soldiers, police, etc. banned from TEC too?

I agree with Rod that violence is a part of the human condition, but another part of religion is having celebrities/saints. And the worst killers are truly (in)famous down through history, so making people world famous on the news probably doesn’t help.

Shirley O'Shea

What I see here is an example of people talking past each other. I am not under the impression that the NRA is primarily concerned with the gun rights of hunters seeking game. I believe that the NRA is zealous to protect their interpretation of the Second Amendment right to own any kind of firearm. And gun manufacturers are pleased to have the NRA advocate for their interests. As for the motive of the individual who left the NRA magazine is a prominent location in the parish hall, I can only speculate, but given the current political climate, I think it is reasonable to believe that his motive was to convince other parishioners to become gun ownership advocates, recruit NRA members, and simply let his convictions be known, inasmuch as he did not remove his mailing label from the magazine. My destruction of the magazine was not a way of saying that the guy who left it there, and like-minded individuals, should be banned from the Episcopal Church, but that recruiting for NRA members in the church is not in the Christian spirit. Further, suggesting that law enforcement and military personnel should, in my opinion, be banned from the church because they own and operate firearms because I oppose the NRA is disingenuous on its face. After the atrocities committed in this country with the use of firearms, such as the Sandy Hook massacre of children, and the killings in Aurora, Colorado, and seemingly countless others, for any person identifying as Christian to advocate for the right to own a gun is simply inconceivable to me. Gun rights advocates call for better care for the mentally ill. This is simply self-serving rhetoric. To insist on the rightness of gun ownership in spite of the continuing shootings and deaths is childish and selfish.

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