Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Martin Luther Speaks Against Self Defense from the Grave

My favorite arbiter of right and wrong, the Reverend Sue Moline Larson, has returned to tell us why carrying concealed weapons is wrong, and that Martin Luther himself would have opposed the concept (For a complete roundup on my thoughts about Reverend Sue, go here).

In a Wisconsin State Journal editorial on Sunday, Larson channels Luther, saying unequivocally that Luther would oppose carrying concealed weapons (she most likely got this idea from his translation of the Bible that includes the passage "I get scared when I go to Minnesota.") I don't suppose anyone in the early 1500s was carrying around any weapons on them. Were there even murder laws then?

After going through a semi-lucid account of how the Bible is like the U.S. Constitution (in that they are interpreted differently in different times), this astonishing passage appears:

In today's consumer culture, expense is not an issue. Guns can be purchased in shops, ordered online, collected at gun shows, or bought from a neighbor. For gun owners, a firearm is as common as having a chainsaw or a Weber grill. If the bill they support becomes law, more people will bring guns to the grocery store, gas station, library, child-care centers, shopping mall and even church.

The people of Wisconsin don't want that. An April 2003 survey by the Public Policy Forum, a non-partisan, nonprofit research organization in Milwaukee, found that only 27 percent of Wisconsinites supported allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons.

I'll leave comment on the first paragraph to the devoted gun people to make the case that this makes us all safer, and you would just be legalizing carrying a weapon for those people that are already carrying weapons into these places. There wouldn't be an increase in the number of guns at all - just a legal recognition that people are already carrying them, and a licensing provosion that makes sure that those who are carrying them are competent.

What amazes me is the fact that Reverend Sue, as the director of the Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin, would actually cite a poll of Wisconsin residents in her push against concealed carry. What religion bases their beliefs on public opinion? You think you'd ever see a press release from the Catholic Church that says "55% of Wisconsinites believe abortion is wrong, so therefore it must be?" You think the Catholic Church is going to change its stance on birth control because a high percentage of women use it? Is the divinity of Christ in question if a certain percentage of Wisconsin residents believe he ain't coming back?

I'm no theologian, but religions exist to dictate public opinion, not reflect it.

Side note: I'm also a fan of this statistic she uses: People who live in a home where there is a handgun are four times more likely to have someone in the house accidentally shot. The newsflash here: somehow 20% of people who are accidentally shot get shot in a home with no gun in it. How does this happen?