Another horrible school shooting has occurred in the US, this time in the Umpqua Community College in Oregon, and according to some reports the shooter targeted Christians or was at least interested in whether his victims were Christian or not. the Washinton Post writes:
In one classroom, he appeared to single out Christian students for killing, according to witness Anastasia Boylan.
“He said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,’” Boylan’s father, Stacy, told CNN, relaying his daughter’s account while she underwent surgery to treat a gunshot to her spine.
“And then he shot and killed them.”
Another account came from Autumn Vicari, who described to NBC Newswhat her brother J.J. witnessed in the room where the shootings occurred. According to NBC: “Vicari said at one point the shooter told people to stand up before asking whether they were Christian or not. Vicari’s brother told her that anyone who responded ‘yes’ was shot in the head. If they said ‘other’ or didn’t answer, they were shot elsewhere in the body, usually the leg.”
Some Christians have argued that this shows that they are clearly persecuted in the US, which I would say is a big exaggeration when comparing with our brothers and sisters in Iraq, China and North Korea that are persecuted for real. But not only that, in an American fashion many Christians have argued that this shows that more guns are needed! More Christians need to arm themselves to be able to kill new shooters that inevitably will pop up on American soil.
Now, this whole gun control debate that’s going on in the US is quite hard for us Europeans to understand. Hi, I live in Sweden. We have very strict gun control here. That means that almost no one carries guns around. That means that we have not had a school shooting since 1961. At all. Gun deaths are more common in countries with lots of guns, like the US and Switzerland, for obvious reasons. See, guns kill people – it’s sort of what they’re designed to do.
I find it extra tragic that Christians support the NRA gun propaganda. Haven’t you learned anything from how Jesus and His followers reacted to violent persecution? They didn’t shoot Paul in the head or stabbed him with a dagger when he tried to wipe out the church, they prayed for him and blessed him and eventually he was miraculously converted. Jesus told us not to confront evil with violence, but turning the other cheek we must seek creative ways of stopping evildoers without killing them. Cast some demons out of them if nothing else works!
Even the two swords that the disciples carried in Luke 22 weren’t meant for self-defense – when Peter tried to use one of them for such purpose Jesus forbade him! According to Matthew, He said: “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Mt 26:12). Early church fathers like Tertullian interpreted this as a command to all Christians who try to arm themselves, to abstain from that and get involved in nonviolent activism.
Rather than lobbying for a Wild West utopia where everybody carries a rifle, American Christians should take inspiration from their Amish brothers and sisters in Nickel Mines, who reacted to a school shooting in their community in 2006 with forgiving the shooter, comforting his family and attending his funeral. That’s a truly Christ-like response to martyrdom.