Skip to main content

Asking the Clergy: What does your faith say about gun ownership? by Rev. Linda Anderson

Asking the Clergy: What does your faith say about gun ownership?

The Rev. Linda Anderson, Stony Brook Unitarian Universalist
The Rev. Linda Anderson, Stony Brook Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Photo Credit: Margaret Allen 

The Valentine’s Day shootings in Parkland, Florida, have forced Americans to re-examine issues such as interpretation of the Second Amendment and gun control. This week’s clergy discuss how the faithful should interpret gun rights within the bounds of their religious teachings. 
The Rev. Linda Anderson
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook

Unitarian Universalism is a non-creedal faith with Protestant roots. Among its foundational principles today are an honoring of the individual’s search for truth and meaning, the right of individual conscience, and respect for the inherent worth of every person. These are among the principles guiding decisions on moral and life issues, including gun ownership. Therefore, Unitarian Universalism would leave decisions about gun ownership up to the individual. Where we would have something to say would be in the arena of the responsibilities of such ownership, both individual and societal. Unitarian Universalism asks each of us to consider the purpose of owning a gun and the suitability of the gun owned to its purpose. When the type of gun we want would do nothing but harm to others and ourselves, the law must step in to protect human life. For instance, we would consider whether assault weapons in the hands of private citizens, however legal, serve any purpose other than destruction of life. It would ask us to “understand how we can reduce the likelihood, or at least the frequency, of mass shootings by understanding the factors that lead to gun violence, what changes in public policy might mitigate or reduce gun violence, and how we and other people and communities of faith might advocate for such changes” ( In other words, what is the purpose of the guns we own, and do the guns we own reasonably suit that purpose?


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Make even these days count

One of the most popular features on a local newscast of a small TV station is something rather surprising. It is a feature called- “The Day of the Week”.  Today is…….. Monday!  The station put forth this as a kind of joke at first, but it was so popular that it became a regular daily addition to the morning newscast.  Apparently, so many of us have lost track of what day it is that we need a reminder. During this stay-at-home time, every day seems to blend into the next.  It is truly difficult to remember how many days we have all been quarantined at home, what the date is and what day of the week it is.  Many of us have a few markers that help- jobs that pause for the weekend, celebrations of Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays- special days of worship.  But even with these, the days seem to bleed into each other like a striped shirt washed in hot water. The period that we are in right now in the Jewish calendar is ironically, a time of counting. A time when we purposely try to keep

Our Diversity is Our Strength

I was riding the subway with my husband.   We were headed towards Penn Station, returning home after seeing a Broadway show in Manhattan.   It was rush hour, the subway was crowded and I was lucky to get one of the last seats.   It was amazingly quiet for such a crowded car.   Most people were looking at their phones or listening to a device.   There were quite a few pairs of wireless earphones on people.   Their heads nodded slightly to the beat of noiseless music, or their eyes glazed over as a mystery book played in their ears.   There was a rich variety of humanity on that single car- multiple ages, ethnicities, races, ages and income levels.   I marveled at the diversity and the peaceful coexistence in this tiny piece of New York City. My eyes glanced over to the man sitting next to me.   He was holding a book and reading it very intently.   Reading an actual book is a relatively rare occurrence these days, but what truly caught my attention was the unusual prin
Compassion On the radio a few days ago there was a piece about refugees arriving by boat to the shores of a country that in the past had been welcoming, but this time people were yelling angrily and running into the water to block the boats from landing.   The boats were full and there were children on board. The turmoil and anger in the crowd was audible. I don’t speak their language, but the reporter said that people blocking the boats were shouting “Go back home. We don’t care about the babies.” I was repulsed. I could not stop thinking about it. “We don’t care about the babies.” What would it take for me to say that? For my friends to say that? My neighbors? Horrible thought, that people I know might be moved to yell at desperate people “We don’t care about the babies.” I started to ask myself how that could happen, what it would feel like to push away needy people and shout “I don’t care about the babies.” Please don’t stop reading when I tell you that suddenly my hea