Presbyterians Today

JUN-JUL 2018

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JUSTICE FOR GOD'S WORLD | Vernon Broyles III 48 JUNE/JULY 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay Coming in August/September Love in action Congregations are gearing up for the fall by taking biblical and theological principles and creating practical ministries for all to participate in. Jesus among the Navajos A pastor on a pilgrimage to worship with Navajo brothers and sisters experiences the good news of Jesus Christ among their sovereign nation. Halls of power See how the moral revival movement is shaping faith in America. Also... A presbytery's fight to end homelessness; toxic behaviors in the church; leadership training. Customer Service Order or renew a subscription 800-558-1669 Purchase extra copies or a past issue 800-533-4371 Change of address pcusa.org/changeaddress Reprint permission and subscription problems 800-728-7228, ext. 5627 Email us General: today@pcusa.org Editor: editor@pcusa.org Our guns or our children? Which will we choose? The high-capacity magazines created for them were also banned. Unfortunately, the ban expired in 2004, encour- aging an avalanche of acquisitions of these weapons. Polls suggest that a majority of Americans are repelled by the proliferation in our society of guns designed to kill numbers of people. That said, for many of us there is something fascinating about guns. The craftsmanship that goes into the design renders them works of mechanical art. They work smoothly and effi- ciently and many of us who own guns use them to hunt or shoot at tin cans for fun. Anyone who has ever shot a gun instantly feels the power that is unleashed. That is why "recreational shooting" is so popular, and why many who truly embrace the experience are staunch opponents of gun control. So, is there a "Christian" perspective on this? Whatever one's answer is to that question, there are other questions that all of us must ask. Has our fascina- tion with guns in this society become an idolatry? Have the champions of permissive gun laws become the "high priests" of an idolatry? Have the leaders of our nation become so loyal to that idolatry that they are deaf to the cries of our children? These are questions for all of us and we dare not linger. The shadow of our many deadly weapons has already fallen upon far too many of our children. Vernon Broyles III is a volunteer for public witness in the PC(USA)'s Office of the General Assembly. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth genera- tion of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation who love me and keep my com- mandments. — Exodus 20:4–6 A day after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida, Andrés Oppenheimer of the Miami Herald asked: "Who is crazier? The gunman or those who let him buy an AR-15 rifle?" The AR-15 is the civilian version of the M-16, which was developed for our troops in Vietnam. Its partner is the shorter-barreled M-4 carbine version designed for use in close quarters combat. It fires a lightweight pro- jectile that is designed to tumble when it strikes human flesh, creating immense damage to the victim. These guns were designed for one thing — to kill humans. Their effectiveness is, of course, enhanced when they are linked with magazines that have a large ammunition capacity. Because of the gun's nature, and in response to pressure from Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, the U.S. Congress passed the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act in September 1994. This legislation banned the sale of this class of weapons, commonly called "assault weapons." justice and only justice, you shall pursue (deut. 16:20)

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