We’ll continue our consideration of how religious liberty legislation is linked to other movements and how we can uses these ideas for liberation, not oppression.
Reflection: God and Guns
In the previous session, we began the exploration of how an individual’s religious or political conviction can be forcibly imposed upon others in a stance of “might makes right.” Religiously Conservative leaders like Mike Huckabee will use the name of “God” in order to give a “righteous” sheen to their causes – like gun rights. Gun rights have nothing to do with God or belief in God, yet because of the Liberal /Conservative divide in our country, many on the Conservative side have co-opted “God” and “God’s approval” on an issue like gun rights. Many will argue that Christians who are supportive of same-sex marriage have also co-opted “God’s love” for all people to justify their position. However, it is always wrong for anyone to claim the name of God to justify exclusion of one group of people. Slavery in America was once seen as a “religious” endeavor to maintain God’s curse of Ham over African people.
America is a pluralistic society – meaning that we are a country made up of various people with different beliefs and perspectives. When some argue that the laws of our country should be based upon God’s principles (a theocracy) – whose God are they referring to? While some would argue that it is godly to defend one’s family with firearms, others would say it is ungodly to use weapons of any sort to harm another. We each relate to God in our own unique way. Many feel comfortable having a religion with many rules, while others adhere to this single rule: “Love God with all your heart, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.”
5 The curse of Ham is referenced in Genesis 9:20-27 and explained in detail in David M. Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (2003, Princeton University Press).