Guns and God – a Few More Aspects to Consider

July 2nd, 2009  

Dr. Piazza –

Let me tell you a story about my personal experience with guns in church.

A few years ago,  I had the opportunity to start a manufacturing plant in Guatemala, Central America, which I designed to be a commercially viable (no donations needed) job and skill training project to bring modern technology jobs to the  disadvantaged people of this struggling democracy.  The primary purpose was to benefit the people, but it was structured as a for-profit business venture so that it could be self-sustaining.  It worked without donations, and without government assistance.

Before moving to Guatemala with my wife and children, I familiarized myself with the risks.  I understood that we would be living in a region that was plagued by a protracted and violent civil war.  Upon arrival, protection of our facility was provided by the government as promised, but we quickly found it necessary to have our own defenses, too.  We even needed an armed driver to transport our children to school due to the threat of kidnapping.

Though I didn’t personally carry a gun at first, I soon realized that it was foolhardy for me to leave our compound unarmed.  As competent as they seemed to be, it was unreasonable to leave the protection of my family and myself exclusively in the hands of the military and police.

Notwithstanding, when we started attending a local church we were nevertheless surprised to find that the same threat was very real for those who were attending church, too.  The guerrillas and criminals clearly didn’t respect the peaceful motivation of the gathering.  So, not only did many church members carry guns to church, but our church ushers were required to be armed, a responsibility that they took very seriously.  Yes, the church hired off-duty police officers to stand guard at the church entrances and patrol the grounds, and these men were armed with submachine guns, but this wasn’t enough.  Practical experience had taught this congregation that they must also be prepared to protect themselves.

In our own situation, our military guards were overrun by guerilla forces on three different occasions, so we learned that personal defense was not simply a notion for the paranoid, it was required based on our very real personal experiences.  And let me be additionally clear, these guerrillas were not just misunderstood and abused poor peasants looking for food.  These were vicious individuals who seemed to enjoy raping children and torturing everyone who crossed their path.  In this sense they were very egalitarian; they raped, tortured without benefit, and killed everyone indiscriminate of being poor or rich, foreigner or fellow countryman, Latino or indigenous Mayan.  They had a bloodlust that would not be satisfied by verbal negotiation, kindness or concession.

And let me relate yet another incident that would be almost humorous if it wasn’t remembered with such horror by my wife.  For her it isn’t a personal encounter with a guerrilla that is branded into her memory.  Rather, she was personally held up, with what may have been a kidnapping attempt, not by a member of the guerrilla forces but by an on-duty uniformed officer of the police force.  An abuse of power not unfamiliar to our Founding Fathers who insisted that we be given the right to protect ourselves from all forms of oppression, even those that are perpetrated by the government or one of its employees.

So what do I think of carrying a gun to church?  I think it’s wonderful.  The police simply can’t do the job of protection by themselves, even here in the U.S.  Those cities that have tried disarming their citizens have found themselves overrun with criminals of the most violent kind.  Kudos to any solid citizen who is willing to carry a gun and accept the inherent responsibility of maintaining firearm competency, and a willingness to embrace the personal risks that come along with using a gun to protect the life of a family member, neighbor or friend.  To them I extend my sincere thanks.

Now that I am living back in the U.S. I have a new appreciation for the wisdom and insight of our Founding Fathers.  They provided us with the wherewithal and responsibility to personally safeguard our communities against those who seek to subjugate and exploit.  Quite simply, what they gave us through our Constitution and Bill of Rights are the tools we need for taking personal responsibility for our lives.  Rarely do I now carry a gun as I did while living in Guatemala, but I am profoundly thankful that I can.  More to the point, I won’t let anyone take my Second Amendment right from me. Not after what I’ve seen.  It’s not going to happen.  I’ve seen what life looks like when a government fails to adequately protect its citizens, and it’s not pretty.

— Sig S.

—–

Dr. Piazza,

Here is the famous picture of the Pilgrims carrying their guns to church.  It was appropriate then and it is appropriate now.

Pilgrims headed to Church Armed for Safety

Pilgrims Going to Church... Armed

And long before guns existed (about 400 BC), Nehemiah and his co-workers involved in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem found it necessary to be armed as they worked on the wall.

Neh 4:17 says “Those who were rebuilding the wall, and those who carried burdens, took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon.”  Of course, the weapons then were swords and bows, but the principle is the same.

Phil H.

Entry Filed under: From the Mail Bag,Front Sight.

Ignatius Piazza
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