As has happened so many times in the past several years, the Texas church shooting, in Sutherland Springs on November 5 has set off a series of political responses, with opposing sides calling for either more gun control or more guns. Prominent political figures added their own opinions, with many turning to social media to issue statements.
While some kept it simple, such as Texas Governor Greg Abbot and former Texas Governor Rick Perry, for example, focusing initial statements on prayers and appreciation of law enforcement, others dug in. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was quick to point out that the church shooter was purported to be a “liberal atheist” and that he had been stopped (albeit, after fleeing the scene) by a Christian member of the NRA.
Senator Elizabeth Warren wasn’t mincing words in expressing the source of the problem, either. She tweeted to say that the NRA’s control over America’s gun policies must change, and that besides being heartsick for the victims of the Texas church shooting, she was also angry.
In a statement released this week, conservative lobbying agency American Family Association agrees that “thoughts and prayers” are not enough, but they are calling for a different type of action to prevent the next church shooting. Instead of legislation, the AFA says it’s time for men to take their guns to church — supporting it with colonial law and Bible verses.
The AFA’s statement about the Texas church shooting is addressed specifically to men, despite Pew Reaserch showing that nearly as many gun owners are women and that women are more likely to say their guns are for protection.
After taking time out to focus on the relative religious views of victims and perpetrator in the latest church shooting, the AFA says that in colonial times, men were required by law to take their guns (and “at least one charge of powder and shott”) to church, citing Native Americans as the danger.
The AFA further cites biblical references, warning that Christians are under attack for following their beliefs, and editorializes as follows.
“With all the unhinged rhetoric from the left ceaselessly demonizing followers of the Cross, we’re at a time where we cannot take the risk of attending church without a means of protecting ourselves, our families, and our fellow church members. As a friend of mine put it, ‘A Glock for the flock.’
“Bottom line: it’s time for God’s men to start packing heat to church.”
American Vision, a nonprofit devoted to “restoring America’s Biblical Foundation,” responded similarly, issuing a call that touched some of the same historical and scriptural references. The author goes further to indicate that allowing a church shooting to result in more gun control would be a failure as Christians.
“To allow unjust gun laws and prohibitions to continue unchallenged is to fail in loving your neighbor and to vote in favor of servitude.”
This piece ends with a presentation of a possible future.
“If we change the laws well enough, we may indeed once again hear pastor say, ‘Oh, and don’t forget: on Sundays we have our regular target practice. Make sure to bring your pieces to church.'”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appeared on Fox News within hours of the church shooting to express the same — a desire to arm church members, rather than attempt to disarm a would-be shooter.
According to VOA News, the motive for the Texas church shooting is believed to be linked to a familial dispute between shooter Devin Patrick Kelley and his in-laws, and the possibility of racial or religious motives has been investigated and dismissed.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]