Packin' a piece in church

A recent article from reported on a Kentucky church that is celebrating Second Amendment rights by encouraging "responsible hand gun owners" to openly wear their unloaded sidearm in a secure holster to an "Open Carry Celebration." People were asked to bring a friend and a can of food. There was a drawing for a free handgun.

The church has received a lot of flak, so to speak. People are asking whether or not Second Amendment rights are synonymous with following Christ.

Some say that Jesus condemns guns. Others remember Jesus telling his disciples to carry a sword. Some say that Jesus condemned the use of guns by telling Peter to put his sword away during his arrest.

In context, the situation in which Christ told Peter to put away his sword meant "Put that away or you'll get killed!" Also, by fighting the soldiers, the disciples were going against God’s plan.

One person who commented on the story said that he carries a gun to keep peace. Members of the New Life Congregation in Colorado Springs are probably grateful that certain members were "packin' a piece" the day two gunmen decided to shoot up their congregation.

Jesus told his disciples to carry swords in order to protect themselves, so it seems probable that if Jesus lived on earth today he might tell his followers to carry guns for the same reason. One commentary argues that from reading Scripture we do not know if the disciples ever carried weapons, however, this may be because it was a common practice.

"Blessed are the peace makers," Jesus said. For Christians, whether that means packin' a piece or not, being a pacifist or an advocate of just war is up to one's conscience as he or she is guided by the Holy Spirit. Because of the time period in which Scripture was written, the fact that people carried weapons was probably assumed. Scripture speaks against murder and violence, not self-defense.

It was in this light that the framers of the Constitution insisted on the Second Amendment—self-defense.

In the U.S. the decision to carry is synonymous with spirituality because carriers should have a proper view of life and humanity. If we choose to carry, we should do so responsibly with the intention of keeping the peace. Neither side should condemn the other. Carrying a gun does not tell the world whether I am a Christian or not, it’s how I use the gun that matters.