His definition of terrorism? “The purposeful violence against civilians, non-combatants, with the intent to create and foster social fear.”
All right, we’re doing well so far, but he immediately goes off the rails with the hackneyed assertions that the NRA fights against the doctrines of gun control. To increase gun sales due to the fear that follows the inevitable mass shootings that are the result of not obeying the commandments in the Book of Bloomberg.
If that sounds like a sermon designed to make you yearn for mama’s meatloaf, the article goes on at greater length. What he tells us to do is nothing new: universal background checks, putting domestic abusers on the list of prohibited persons, offering gun owners a gift card in exchange for their guns (he calls it a buyback program), and banning semiautomatic firearms. After all, they’re only meant for the killing of lots of people at once…right?
Before Wallis, in his genius, tells us that we need every legal gun sale to be done with a background check, he reminds us that the Texas church shooter was convicted of beating his wife and breaking the skull of his infant stepson. This much, at least, he read in The New York Times.
Perhaps I need to read the text in the original Hebrew, but there seems to be a flaw in the belief that God advocates for more background checks as the solution to criminal records not having been entered into the system.
One surprising idea in this Book of Commonsense Prayer is that in theological terms, the police should have a monopoly of force with the goal of protecting the population. I wish he had said whether that comes out of his old testament or the new one since this comes from the same Jim Wallis who was arrested in Ferguson, Missouri while protesting police violence against minorities. In the spirit of forgiveness, I can excuse his not having read my writing on the killing of Philando Castile, a legally armed Minnesotan who was shot by a police officer during a traffic stop, but couldn’t he read his own magazine?
The author was someone else—does Wallis pay attention only to the tablets of stone that he himself has brought down from the mountain?
Reading all of this incoherence in the pronouncements of a gun control advocate comes as no surprise.
I do find it unexpected to see someone who identifies as a part of the Christian left wing calling for new laws on the basis of a theological argument. I’ve been watching social conservatives tell this country that abortion and gay marriage are sins and should be illegal for that reason, but I would have thought that Wallis would be on the side of the separation of religion and state. If he wants to make the case to his fellow Christians, by all means, let him have his say.
If his purpose is to convince Christians that they should not own or use firearms, go for it. That’s none of my business. But when he tries to sell new gun laws on the grounds that his theology calls for peace, he’s crossed a line.
The secular case for gun control consistently fails on the evidence. Wallis’s turning to religion for support of violating the rights of millions of law-abiding Americans is a sign of the times for the movement that’s he’s a part of, a sign that those of us who are on the side of gun rights are winning – and must continue the fight.
About Greg Camp
Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can are found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.