Retired Pastor James Atwood is touring Nebraska and Kansas, speaking to congregations about his belief in the need for more gun control to address the “spiritual implications” of gun violence.
On March 18 he spoke at Grand Island, Nebraska’s Trinity United Methodist Church.
According to the Grand Island Independent, Atwood suggested Second Amendment rights have to be balanced against the mention of “domestic tranquility” in the Preamble to the Constitution. And he suggested “domestic tranquility” includes “the right to live in safety without being afraid of being cut down by a bullet.”
Atwood contends “churches must be more active in creating a conversation among their members and the community that could serve to find ways to create a world without gun violence.”
In making these points, Atwood also pointed out his belief that “every faith community” wants peace to some degree. He said, “Every religion in the world talks about loving one’s neighbor. Every religion has a ‘Gold Rule.'” He then suggested Christians are especially obligated on these matters because the Bible teaches that “everyone is made in the image of God.”
Atwood missed the numerous parts of the Bible that explain the difference between killing in cold blood and killing in self-defense–the former is prohibited but the latter is not.
Moreover in discussing the duty to uphold the “dignity of human life” he failed to mention that self-defense rests on that very premise. When a woman under duress uses a handgun for self-defense she is expressing her desire to protect the dignity of her life, and when a grandfather shoots and kills an attacker allegedly trying to rape his granddaughter, that grandfather is protecting the dignity of his granddaughter’s life.
The coverage of Atwood’s Grand Island speaking engagement described him as “an author, hunter,” and someone “who has been a member of the NRA.” The coverage did not mention that Atwood is also a board member for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (GSGV), a gun control group which supported the nomination of anti-gun Dr. Vivek Murthy to Surgeon General, opposed NRA efforts to defend the Second Amendment, opposed mid-term election candidates supported by Gun Owners of America, and called for a shame campaign to prevent Jay Leno from speaking at the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s 2015 SHOT Show.
The Grand Island Independent did report that Atwood once served as the chairman of the greater Washington DC-area Heeding God’s Call, a group known for “encouraging gun shops to adopt a code of conduct aimed at deterring illegal purchasing and trafficking of handguns.”
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