Put the Gun Down


Trent Lot, the former senate majority leader from Mississippi, recorded a video endorsement to arm toddlers. He said, “I support the Kinder Guardian program. We… would be wise to implement it… putting guns in the hands of… talented children or highly trained preschoolers.” The best way to stop a bad guy “is a good kid with a gun.”1

Despite the absurdity of a federal program passing out Glocks before circle time, what’s even more ludicrous is Senator Lot’s faith: he’s a lifelong Baptist. And he’s not alone. The largest demographic in the United States packing heat is white evangelical men.2 The same Christian Nationalists who make headlines by shouting the loudest.

This co-opted gospel claims that James Madison, author of the 2nd Amendment, is Lord and Savior, that the Constitution is God’s infallible word, and that “Violence, not Christianity, is the real religion of America.”While one of the bestselling gun cases is a Bible in disguise, Scripture retorts with a counter-narrative.

Speaking for himself, Jesus identifies as a revolutionary of non-violence. On Palm Sunday, with parade goers rubbernecking for a war stallion, He arrives unarmed on a donkey.4 When Peter cuts off the ear of a lawman, Jesus orders him to sheath his sword.5 After the executioners crucify him, Jesus uses his last breath to say, “Father, forgive them.”6 And when he returned wounded but risen, Jesus’ first words were, “Peace [PEACE, PEACE, PEACE] be with you.”7

A disciple of the Prince of Peace, my name is Brian Combs. I’m a United Methodist clergyman and a pacifist who does not and will not ever own a firearm. I’m also the pastor of Haywood St., a designated church site for Raw Tools,8 a ministry where killing machines can be surrendered and repurposed, through fire and forge, into garden trowels.

To the militant Christians among us haunted by spilled blood in the fields, suspect of political and theological tribalism, and gutted by the relentless shootings, put the gun down. It’s impossible to carry the cross and a loaded AR-15 at the same time.9 So rather than stand our ground against the bad guy, lets us turn the other cheek in the name of the One who came to disarm our hearts and manifest a love that’s always defenseless.

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1 Arwa Mahdawi, “Sacha Baron Cohen’s Scheme to Arm Toddlers Isn’t Far from Reality,” Guardian (US Edition), July 16, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/16/sacha-baron-cohen-guns-children-toddlers-who-is-america-reality.

2 Morgan Lee, “Should Christians Own Guns for Self-Defense? A Global Snapshot.” Christianity Today, (October 10, 2022): https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2022/october-web-only/guns-christians-self-defense-mass-shootings-protection.html

3 Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992). 

4 Luke 19:36

5 John 18:10-11

6 Luke 23:34

7 John 20:21

8 Raw Tools: Disarm Hearts, Forge Peace, Cultivate Justice, rawtools.org 

9 Shane Clairborne and Michael Martin, “Beating Guns: Hope for People are Weary of Violence,” (Grand Rapids,: Brazos,2019), 159.