Jesuit Says Gun Control Is a Religious Issue

Jesuit Father James MartinOn Friday, July 20, after the shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater that left 12 dead, Jesuit Father James Martin, culture editor at America magazine, posted the following on Facebook:

“Gun control is a pro-life issue. Pray for the families of the victims in Colorado, and for an end to the taking of life by violence.”

That post sparked a debate on Fr. Martin’s Facebook page that USA Today’s Faith & Reason blog reported on later that day, in a post titled “Would Jesus pack heat? Is gun control a God issue?”

On July 22, Fr. Martin expanded on his views in a post on America magazine’s blog. Fr. Martin stated that he is a religious person, not a political person, and that he believes gun control is a religious issue:

“It is as much of a ‘life issue’ or a ‘pro-life issue,’ as some religious people say, as is abortion, euthanasia or the death penalty (all of which I am against), and programs that provide the poor with the same access to basic human needs as the wealthy (which I am for). There is a ‘consistent ethic of life’ that views all these issues as linked, because they are.”

Fr. Martin wrote that he prays for the victims, but suggested that “our revulsion over these crimes, and our sympathy for victims, may be more than an invitation to prayer. Such deep emotions may be one way that God encourages us to act.”

Fr. Martin said religious people should meditate on “the connection between the more traditional ‘life issues’ and the overdue need for stricter gun control.”

3 Responses to “Jesuit Says Gun Control Is a Religious Issue”

  • Michael Cooper, S.J.:

    Jim Martin zeroed in on a very Ignatian response to the violence and murder in Aurora, Co. I am glad he took some heat. Maybe the storm he stirred up will get other Christians and pro-lifers thinking. Guns and the violence are definitely a pro-life issue.

  • Bob Costello, SJ:

    Well, Jim, “you have gone and done it now.” I applaud your candor in saying gun control must be debated also as a religious issue. I suspect the gun lobby will fire right back at you.

    It never occured to me that gun control is a pro-life issue, one with its own distinctive bite for Christians. I will have to think more about that.

    Probably before you were born there was on the cover page of Psychology Today this comment: The finger doesn’t pull the trigger, the trigger pulls the finger. I don’t know if current research backs that up, but it is a stimulating assertion. And, in many cases, it is right on.

    Blessings on your work.

  • Joe Tetlow, S.J.:

    Fr Martin’s observation that reasonable gun control has to form part of a consistent ethic of life is so clearly true that you wonder why Christians have not seen it before. Some of us have been too busy focused on one or other life issue. How many more murders will it take to make us realize that guns do, indeed, kill people?