Even though they often go hand in hand, in America, the "Church of Guns" is more passionate and dangerous than Christianity
Contrary to what many secular Americans believe, the most dangerous religion in America is not Christianity. Instead, it is the Church of Guns. This may seem strange and counter to other opinions I have written, but America does have a bloody religion devoted to guns. Much like our acquainted religions, criticizing the Church of Guns draws many attacks in return.
Most of the articles I write do not necessarily concern gun issues in America. However, when ever I do write about gun control, the cultists of the Church of Guns come out in a great legion to disparage and discredit me in every way possible. The worst incident involved having my Twitter feed (which I barely use) bombarded by gun trolls who wasted their time firing their arsenals of insults.
Religion generally is dogmatic beliefs that can take many shapes. Much of the dogmatism surrounds a certain key principle or doctrine. This doctrine tends to be unchanging and not subject to question. Anyone who does challenge the doctrine is targeted for their criticism. This applies well to gun nuts in America.
Much like religious blocks, gun nuts tend to cast their voting interests around less restriction on their idols. Like evangelical “values voters,” gun cultists fight specifically for less regulation on guns and pressure their political allies to go after anyone who gets in their way. This includes concerned parents, being threatened with gun totting goons who try and give their best impression of American Sniper.
I haven’t experienced the worst of online gun trolls, but I have seen cases get heated to the point where threats of violence are implicated. I have never been threatened, but I know writers who have been, including Quiet Mike’s Chad R. MacDonald. Honestly, I applaud those who do take strong stances on gun control, because it is not an issue I would ever consider standing out in front of. The reason being, guns are a pseudo-religious sacred cow in this country.
To criticize the availability of guns in America and advocate any law stemming the flow (or even modest regulation) puts one as an automatic target. My experience is that it is easier to criticize Christianity in America then it is to criticize the Church of Guns. I have criticized institutional religion many times before, and I don’t recall getting nearly the same level of vitriol compared to when I raised questions about guns. I could write a piece with the title “Fuck Jesus” and I wouldn’t be attacked nearly as much.
All joking aside, this is a serious issue. Gun nuts have framed owning any and all types of firearms a sacred right, a right above all other rights. Guns today are on a sacred pillar that religion once widely rested on. Gun nuts are quick to attack and organize against anyone who criticizes them and their sacred right to arm themselves to the teeth, and allow anyone to do the same.
While it is mostly analogy, the way in which gun cultists behave is similar to radical adherents of religion. The very same “How dare you” attitude emerges, a scolding tone that is intended to make one feel like a dumb child.
The mindset is similar between gun nuts and religious fanatics. They share the same exclusiveness, the idea that their “right” can never be challenged. Of course, much like religious fanatics on issues like gay marriage, their idea of “rights” are severely distorted. Their right to own any gun they choose trumps other rights, in the same way that a Christian bigot’s right to discriminate trumps other rights.
Anytime someone publicly criticizes the rampant lack of gun control in the country, gun nuts say not to politicize tragedies. After every mass shooting that makes headlines, whether it be Sandy Hook, Aurora, or Charleston, gun nuts claim we should not use the tragedies to discuss the issue of guns. Every effort is made to either shift blame or avoid the discussion all together.
Bear in mind, I am not anti-gun (per-say). I believe Americans do have the right to own firearms. In fact, my stance has softened somewhat. I don’t even care anymore about assault rifles on the civilian market, though I do question the necessity of owning such a gun. Of course Americans have a right to a gun, the question has always been how far does that right extend?
The Church of Guns would have us believe that every American should have unlimited access to any firearm they choose. They also believe that gun sales should be unregulated, or regulated to an ineffective minimum. Despite the mass casualties the country faces every year, the gun cultists think that more access to guns is the answer. The Wild West solution, they like to call it.
The central problem here is that America has developed a religion devoted to guns. There has to be an honest and rational conversation we can have as a country about the sane regulation of guns. Tight background checks, state or national registries, mental-health evaluations. I would even go far enough to say you should apply for a license to own a gun, and these licenses must be treated like a driver’s license. Also, much like getting a car, one should pay insurance on their gun.
As much as this country needs to have this conversation, gun nuts still insist the problem is not guns. Much like a religious fanatic in denial, they plug their ears with bullets and spray fire from their teeth. No amount of death will be enough for America to realize the dangerous nature of its gun religion.