By Christina Singh
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called Sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
The issue of gun violence in our country is disrupting the peace that passes all understanding, which our Prince of Peace brings to us! Like many others, Freeport (Ill.) Church of the Brethren is devastated to see innocent people, even little children, becoming victims of gun violence and losing their lives even before they know what life is all about.
We as a church have taken a stand in our community, where we have been placed by God; that we all need to do whatever it takes to stop this gun violence, which is wreaking havoc in most people’s lives.
Linda Simler, our treasurer, has taken the initiative to lead us in showing the community of Freeport that we stand against gun violence and plan to do everything against it. We are grateful for her leadership!
On Sunday, June 4, we wore orange to express our solidarity for gun violence prevention and were outside our church, letting the community know of our belief.
We know that many will say that their second amendment right to bear arms to protect themselves is more important than anything else, but let’s look at the actual amendment and its intent. It says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Historical evidence indicates that the Second Amendment was meant to give citizens the ability to defend themselves against unlawful violence. The right to keep and bear arms is a right for people to possess weapons (arms) for the preservation of life, liberty, and property. The purpose of gun rights is for self-defense, including security against tyranny, as well as hunting and sporting activities.
Please pray… For the peace witness of the congregation at Freeport (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, with leadership from pastor Christina Singh and treasurer Linda Simler.
We don’t disagree with those who want a gun for self-defense, but our point is why does any individual need an assault rifle to protect themselves? Why does anyone need several assault rifles and several handguns to protect themselves? Are guns and money more important than lives? What happened to the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”?
Some people argue that it is a mental health issue. It is possible, but what about other countries? Don’t they have mental health issues? They do! Yet the other countries do not face the devastating gun violence and killing of innocent people and kids as much as we do in the United States. It is not the hand that presses the trigger that kills people; it is the gun that kills several people in one shot.
Most people have had enough of this and would like it to stop. We as a church stand against any individual owning any assault rifle or any kind of gun that will kill dozens in one round. We are actively involved with On Earth Peace and are grateful for all they do to try to mitigate this problem of gun violence. We at the Freeport congregation agree with and stand by the report of On Earth Peace:
“Our purpose as an agency of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference is to help the Church of the Brethren become a relevant, vital, ‘living’ peace and justice church equipped to create vital relationships and initiatives on contemporary issues of violence and injustice. We believe it’s possible for this Historic Peace Church to develop new skills and spiritual power to become capable of meeting, finding, and proclaiming Jesus in the neighborhood.”
Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:9 say it all. As Christians and followers of Christ we must strive for peace and gun control, no matter what. Only then will we be called children of God!
— Christina Singh is pastor of Freeport (Ill.) Church of the Brethren.
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