During the October 14 airing of CNN’s Amanpour, Faith and Action’s Reverend Bob Shank said we are called to love our enemies, not carry a gun with a predetermined willingness to shoot and kill them in self-defense.
Shank suggests the idea of carrying a gun for self-defense runs counter to pro-life ethics.
During the interview, Shank was asked to respond to Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey’s (R) call for Christians to consider arming themselves for self-defense following the shooting at Umpqua Community College–a shooting in which gunman Chris Harper Mercer allegedly asked people to state whether they were Christians before he shot them.
CNN presented Ramsey’s call thus: “I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit…Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise.”
Shank then replied:
There is a little bit of problem with [Lt. Gov. Ramsey’s call] because Jesus himself said we are to love our enemies and to do good to them. That brings into question any time you put a firearm on your body or you carry it for defensive purposes, you’re prepared to kill. So any time a Christian considers killing someone, whether it appears justified or not, it is a moral crisis.
I disagree with the Lt. Governor…I think it was bad moral advice for Christians.
It is interesting to note that CNN omitted an important part of Ramsey’s statement. His actual statement encouraged Christians to carry for self-defense, with the caveat, “I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.” This caveat shows that Ramsey was not calling Christians to a reckless use of guns but to a reasonable state of preparedness.
Would this caveat have mattered to Rev Shank? Probably not. Because the overarching thrust of Shank’s interview with CNN was to discuss his upcoming film highlighting his opposition to Christians arming themselves for self-defense. The film is titled, The Armor of Light, and Shank has teamed up with Abigail Disney to make it.
In the film Shank argues that the Bible says nothing about carrying a gun for self-defense. Of course, the argument could be made that the Bible doesn’t say anything about making films to highlight one’s opposition to carrying guns for self-defense, but that’s a separate point.
Nevertheless, Shank and Disney appeared together on CNN, and both contended that they have no political or legislative agenda in opposing the use of guns for self-defense. Yet Disney did point out how refreshing it was to hear Democrat candidates boast of being at odds with the NRA during the October 13 Democrat debate.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.