Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Open Carry

I have a very vivid memory of growing up under the tutelage of a strict, Baptist mother. Our weekly family religious activities included Sunday morning and evening church, Wednesday night prayer meeting, occasional revival services, and various other special events at the church. It also included daily Bible readings during which I read the “Good Book” cover to cover at least two times, plowing even through the early chapters containing all of the begats. My recent observation of the Legislature has made me realize, however, that perhaps I have a gap in my religious training because I don’t remember ever having carried the U.S. Constitution to Sunday school. 

Although I have yet to find it in scripture, my observation of the Legislature tells me many gun laws stemming from the Constitution are mandates from God.  There are only a couple of cases I believe could be interpreted in the Bible to justify or mandate open carrying of weapons–the first being David’s slingshot.  However, that obviously was part of a military operation and not intended for civilian open carry.  The other was the fact that disciple Peter was obviously armed in the Garden of Gethsemane when he whacked off the ear of the Roman soldier; but that occasion was quietly not condoned as Jesus replaced the ear and reprimanded Peter.

I get a little nervous when our political leaders mount a great effort to try to combine religious teaching with legislation.  It reminds me too much of ISIS, the Taliban and other radical, Islamic sects that would govern according to Sharia Law.

I’m usually confronted by folks who argue that obviously our U.S. Constitution was based on Judeo-Christian principles and thereby inspired by God through its writers.  Unfortunately, through the years politicians have used the Bible to justify their own position--probably beginning with the Crusades in which good Christian soldiers slaughtered thousands in the Near East in the name of Christ, on down to the provisions in our Constitution in which people of color were counted only as 3/5ths human, and other politicians used the scripture to justify slavery. It gives me pause.

Do not let it be said I am anti-gun, however, in that I own more guns than most of the average citizens in Texas.  I have owned a gun and have been shooting as long as I can remember.  In addition to my hunting weapons, of which there are many, I own about a dozen which I have as keepsakes from murder trials where I have defended folks for the use of these weapons.  I don’t really have a problem with open carry, which I believe to be no worse than any carry.  As a matter of fact, I can see one advantage to open carry in that you will be well aware that the person you are confronting is well armed and will do well not to engage him in any serious confrontation. 

What I suggest as hypocritical conduct is that of claiming for political purposes that God has mandated this or that.  I suspect, if we really examined the issues closely, God would strongly favor children in Texas being well-fed, not have to go to bed hungry, being well-educated, and having decent medical care.  

This whole business reminds me of what I read about an incident with Abraham Lincoln.  Someone was assuring Lincoln to continue the fight during the Civil War on the grounds that God was on the Union’s side.  Lincoln looked at the person and replied that he was not so much concerned about that as he was about who was on God’s side.

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