Religious Left Wants Control of More than Guns

Mark Tooley is President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.theird.org) and author of Methodism and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Follow him on Twitter: @markdtooley.


A Religious Left coalition convened in the historic United Methodist building on Capitol Hill early this week essentially to back President Obama’s new gun control initiatives.  Of course, Sojourners chief Jim Wallis was prominently featured.   Of course, as elaborated in a later column, Wallis lambasted the National Rifle Association as a chief culprit for violence in America.  He especially detested Wayne LaPierre’s assertion that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

Instead, Wallis countered, “When we are good, we want to protect our children — not by having more guns than the bad people, but by making sure guns aren’t the first available thing to people when they’re being bad.” He added, “Being good is protecting people and our children from guns that are outside of the control of rules, regulations, and protections for the rest of us.”

Wallis cited the current murder rates in Chicago, where more died last year from gun deaths than did U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan.   Of course, Wallis does not mention that Chicago has very strict gun control.  Instead he wonders if the mainly non-white victims of murder in Chicago elicit less sympathy and provoke more indifference than do white deaths.  “It’s morally mistaken and also religiously repugnant,” he laments.

Recounting a conversation with his evidently precocious 9-year-old child, Wallis quotes that child saying that gun access should be limited to “licensed hunters, [who] have guns if they use them to hunt. And people who need guns — who need guns for their job like policemen and army. But I don’t think that we should just let anybody have any kind of gun and any kind of bullets that they want. That’s pretty crazy.”

Presumably Wallis’ child speaks Wallis’ own views.  Since Wallis is largely pacifist, it’s likely Wallis is not enthusiastic about armed military or even police but grudgingly accepts the political reality.  Absent from Wallis’ commentary is any argument as to how the types of gun control he and much of the Religious Left advocate would actually reduce gun deaths.  And he ignores, as do so many others, the almost unprecedented drop in America’s murder rate, which is now one half what it was per capita 30 years ago, and is now lower than it was 50 years ago.  This plunge in murder rates accompanied a large increase in the number of personally owned guns in America.  Clearly gun control did not cause the drop, which has meant hundreds of thousands of Americans who otherwise would be dead are now alive.  As Wallis mentions race, he might note that since non-whites are disproportionately the victims of murder, they are correspondingly the greatest beneficiaries of America’s plunging murder rate.

Maybe Wallis prefers not to admit the wonderful drop in murder because it detracts from his preferred narrative to justify greater state power over individuals and their right to gun ownership.   He also does not likely like one main explanation for the drop in murder, which is the dramatic increase in America’s incarcerated population over the last 40 years.  Persons who would be murdering are instead behind bars, i.e. incarcerated by “good guys with guns.”  The incarceration rate of today is in fact five times per capita what it was 40 years ago.

Law enforcement and judicial leniency of the 1960s, confronted by surging crime and disorder, provoked stricter enforcement and tighter sentencing in subsequent decades, including longer prison terms and frequent elimination of parole. It was an obvious answer to runaway crimes rates, but an answer that the Left, including the Religious Left, which prefers to think of criminals as victims rather than morally responsible agents, prefers to ignore.   A 2010 “Time” magazine story estimated that just over the previous 18 years 170,000 Americans who would have been murdered were spared.  Just in 2008, the lower crime rates included 40,000 fewer rapes, 380,000 fewer robberies, half a million fewer aggravated assaults and 1.6 million fewer burglaries than would have occurred under the old crimes rates.  Perhaps Wallis and other Religious Left lobbyists should have convened a press conference in the United Methodist Building to praise God for these miraculous drops, and the millions of people who have been spared the ravages of violent crime thanks to more effective law enforcement, among other factors.  Meanwhile, by some counts, the number of guns privately owned in America has increased by 50 percent in recent decades, following the growth in population. About half of Americans say they have a gun in their home.

Besides incarcerating more criminals, smarter law enforcement backed by higher technology, along with an overall aging population are likely also factors in the stunning drop in murder and violent crime in America.  But there’s no comprehensive evidence that gun control has played any major role in reducing crime.

Yet Jim Wallis and the Religious Left cling with tenacious faith to their dream of reducing private gun ownership in America. Since there’s no solid evidence that gun control has substantively contributed toward crime reduction, their objectives must lie elsewhere.  We can only conjecture, but aligning with the rest of their politics, their constant political goal seems to be the reduction of personal liberty and greater government control at every level.  So maybe the next Jim Wallis press conference in the United Methodist Building should more forthrightly urge greater “control” over every aspect of American life and not limit its scope to guns.

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  • Mary Sue

    They secretly know that when they get all the guns, they can dictate to the rest of the populace and the populace can't do bugger-all about it.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The left, including its so called religious component, wants nothing more than TOTAL control. This must be understood, in order to internalize the incipient chaos.

    Grabbing for the Second Amendment is just one piece of the game plan. There is so much more – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/12/22/first-amendme

    Onto here the left is marching – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/01/07/fiddling-with

    Game over.

    Adina kutnicki, Israel – http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • Deep Space

    "But I don’t think that we should just let anybody have any kind of gun and any kind of bullets that they want." Is that what you want? I realize that Adam Lanza's guns were legal as were James Holmes' but don't we want to prevent just these kinds of people from getting guns or since the NRA keeps emphasizing mental health issues maybe they want to go ahead and sell the guns to whomever and then seek counseling if they feel the urge to go on a killing rampage?

    • RedWhiteAndJew

      Or perhaps you would prefer the paradigm where everyone is presumed insane, and must prove their sanity before they can buy a gun.

      Sounds doubleplus good.

      • Ben Jabo

        n England, you're presumed Guilty until you prove your your innocent

        I think that the religious freaks are looking for a new Spanish Inquisition, beware of Bonfires, you may wind up on one of them

        • Drakken

          It is the leftist/progressive/socialist religious types that are doing it.

  • Endyr

    This is why pre-puberty juveniles should not be making policy, or their 9 year old children.

    • Spider

      Neither should the Anti Constitution Semocrats

    • Spider

      Neither should the Anti Constitution Democrats

    • Rifleman

      Lol, well said.

  • Patriot

    Why does NO ONE come out and say the real reason we patriots "cling" to our guns… We need
    Protection from a runaway government which more and more threatens our God given
    Rights!! 240 yrs ago the people rose up to confront tyranny. They fashioned their weapons
    Out of farm tools to fight against govt cannon and muskets! When this power hungry govt comes
    After me and my stuff I want to be at least on an equal playing field, I won't be confronting tanks and
    automatic weapons with my 22 caliber varmint gun!! THAT IS WHY WE NEED AUTOMATIC WEAPONS
    WITH 30 ROUND MAGAZINES!! It's called PROTECTION from a Tyrannnical GOVERNMENT!
    Will someone start TELLING IT LIKE IT IS!!

    • Douglas

      Totally agree. However, as the laudable Joe Sobran said years ago, we are unlikely to mount much of a fight against a tyrannical government which (our tax money has paid for) has weaponized drones, weapon systems, and nuclear bombs.

      So, we retain our guns on principle……ineffective though they may be.

      • Drakken

        If you think that our military and LEO's will move against the American people you are dead wrong. The oath of office is to the Constitution not the politicians.

        • Buddy

          yep…..naif………..I remember Waco, TX!

  • EthanP

    I'm willing to bet that NRA members (I'm an Endowment member) have among the lowest crime rates in the country.

    • juan

      I won't take that bet because you are correct – one never reads about the NRA membership card found among the personal belongings of these criminal shooters …

  • 77patriot

    The only god people like Jim Wallis worship is the "progressive" Marxist god of the left. Notice the religious left rarely if ever, mention salvation through Jesus Christ? It's not in their theology.

  • Kevin Stroup

    Zionist Nazi Fascist? Wow. You really need to get back on your meds. What a maroon.

  • Rifleman

    “Being good is protecting people and our children from guns that are outside of the control of rules, regulations, and protections for the rest of us.” – comrade wallis. I guess he’d better get busy making sure the Southern border is secure. Oh wait, he’s against that, like he’s against punishing predators and executing murderers to ensure they never murder anyone again.

    Wallis and his assumptions are “morally mistaken and repugnant,” like any leftist pretending to be a Christian. His child is only nine, what’s his excuse?

  • RedWhiteAndJew

    What color is the sky in your world?

  • RiverFred

    Hitler implemented gun control and look what happened:

    Account by Kitty Wethermann of German take-over of Austria in 1938.
    American Truly is the Greatest Country in the World – don't let freedom slip away.
    I am a witness to history.
    “I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history.

  • UCSPanther

    You sound like the Neo-Nazi vultures who were trying to make rhetorical hay over Jared Loughner's rampage.

    In that one, both you freaks and the gun prohibitionists were in a virtual race to the bottom.

  • eddie too

    lexington/concord, the shot heard around the world, was a reaction to the british government's decision to confiscate the colonies' weapons and ammunition.

    are they still teaching that in the government run schools?

    • jakespoon

      Nope.

  • JacksonPearson

    Who are the so-called religious left? The leftist dems at the last convention voted down God, so what exactly, and who do they worship, or pray to…Satan???

    • jakespoon

      Their religion is situational, whatever it needs to be to validate their views,Newtown is rightly called a national tragedy, but the violence of 1.5 million abortions a year in America,well, that's celebrated as a holy choice. And,yes, it's Satan,whether they realize it or not.

      • JacksonPearson

        The left, along with their morals, are in the Sodom and Gomorrah toilet.

  • factonly

    The number one reason America has not been attacked on the ground….it's citizens are armed. Most countries know this and are afraid to face not only our military but our citizens also. They came close a few times (german u-boats off our coasts and the japenese) but for some reason they did not step foot on our soil. I bleieve that if gun control is passed by "Executive Order" we the people need to start impeachment processes.

    Worst argument I have heard agianst being able to defend one's self against the government is that our military took an oath to protect the President. Correction: the oath one takes in the military id to uphold the Constitution of the United States agains foreign and domestic enemies.

  • polnick

    Rifle owners have never been more frightened, metal doors
    and shuttered windows offer no protection. The night invader`s eyes are not on
    electronic things but only on the gun owners most guarded treasure. The
    lovelorn beast has been in the cold too long and desperately needs the white
    heat of a screaming and scratching vixen. Fortunately a bullet found its mark and the
    night invader found no warmth as he was buried in the snow under the porch.

  • epaddon

    Mr. "Pacifist" Jim Wallis, was not sufficiently devoted to pacifism in the 1980s when he was an open supporter of CISPES, who weren't using "pacifistic" means to try and impose Communism in El Salvador. He is a fraud of the first order, who like all fake "Christians" of the far left believes in subordinating the Gospel of Christ to the secular leftist values of the Social Gospel and liberation theology with its perpetual sympathy for communist revolutionary movements. And if you ever try to bring this subject up with his lapdog supporters in "Christian" circles, they will stick their fingers in their ears and go "HUMMMMMM!" and refuse to talk about it (even as they hypocritically out of the other side of their mouths will then excoriate the Religious Right for their positive view of America)(

  • Ghostwriter

    What color is the sky in Rev. Wallis' world?

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "What color is the sky in Rev. Wallis' world?"

      If it's the same color as his flag of loyalty, it's red.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "Perhaps Wallis and other Religious Left lobbyists should have convened a press conference in the United Methodist Building to praise God for these miraculous…"

    Very few if any believe in God even a little. They only say they do publicly or in large groups because it's taboo to simply deny it openly. This is for the sake of preserving their subculture and nothing more. They are cultural (atheistic) "Christians" who cite Christianity because that's what their ancestors did. That's what they know, sort of.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "So maybe the next Jim Wallis press conference in the United Methodist Building should more forthrightly urge greater “control” over every aspect of American life and not limit its scope to guns."

    Every Jim Wallace press conference is about leftist politics and probably some delusion that he can run for office some day as a Republican..er…make that a Democrat.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "You know that shootings have been commeted by Zionists Nazi Facsits who control the whole thing in the USA."

    You jumped the shark today. Jews control the banks, politicians and all shootings as well? They are amazing! Maybe they DESERVE to run the whole world after all if so few can accomplish all of that without any evidence left behind. Amazing people. Maybe they'll bring the same kind of democracy throughout the world. If the USA is not acceptable as the supreme global hegemonic power, then I'll take Israel please as the best alternative.

    Down with sharia and communism, up with liberal democracy!

    I think you're just another crazy bigoted Italian communist.

  • Mary Sue

    So teh Joooooos made all those gang members shoot people?

  • fanlad

    Jim Wallis, a wolf wearing religious sheeps clothing. Buyer beware.

    • jakespoon

      Jesus warned about people like Wallis. Ravening wolves,I believe.

  • Willy Rho

    'Those Who Do Not Remember their Past Are Condemned to Repeat It" – George Santayana
    A Little Gun History:

    In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control.
    From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    In 1911, Turkey established gun control.
    From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, with not guns, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Germany established gun control in 1938. From 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

    China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

    Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

    You won’t see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.
    Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.

    My Fellow Citizens, please note and ACT, before it’s too late.

    The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson.
    With guns, we are ‘citizens’. Without them, we are ‘subjects’.

    During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED.

    SWITZERLAND ISSUES EVERY HOUSEHOLD A GUN And the Government Trains Them All of them.

    SWITZERLAND HAS THE LOWEST GUN RELATED CRIME RATE of any civilized Country in the World.

    DON’T LET OUR GOVERNMENT WASTE MILLIONS OF OUR TAX DOLLARS IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE ALL LAW ABIDING CITIZENS AN EASY TARGET.

  • romanticpoet

    Jim Wallis is an avowed Marxist. Wallis is utilizing the Dialectic Process to "spin" and twist the truth to fit his/their agenda. http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/brainwashing/diale

    AND

    Treason in the Church: Trading Truth for a "Social Gospel" http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/006/conspiracy2

    An eye opening video from 2005: Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Wade Rathke and Jim Wallis at Gamaliel Foundation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQIftICloy8

    Alinsky’s tactics were based, not on Stalin’s revolutionary violence, but on the Neo-Marxist strategies of Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Communist. Relying on gradualism, infiltration and the===> dialectic process rather than a bloody revolution.

  • Drakken

    Nice to see muslim jihadist supporters in our midst, it reminds us who we are up against, keep up the good work.

  • Western Canadian

    I have never met anyone on the left, who could be taken seriously as a Christian…. (and to be fair, a large chunk of the right can’t be either)… Any high profile left winger claiming to be a member of a church (instead of a marxist or islamic cult) is a liar and a hypocrite. And probably doing very well financially for their efforts, making the revolting Jim and Tammy and their ilk look like pikers.

  • Western Spirit

    Focusing on the tool instead of the person is a typical ploy of propagandists to deceive people so they can take advantage of them.

  • CurmudgyOneJr

    To the Left, everything is reversible. Any contract can be changed,just because they want it that way.

    Marriage? Just get a divorce because you want to.
    Pregnancy? Just brutally kill and dismember the child … no big deal.
    The Bible? We think it means something new.
    Constitution? What the heck, some old white guys 250 years ago didn't know much, anyway.
    Laws of our country? They don't matter; the Pres can change 'em when he wants to.

    We are done for because these kinds of people are in the majority now.

  • johnnywoods

    Gun control is not about guns but control. It is as simple as that.

  • Tan

    We need to continue to expose false teachers and false preachers like Jim Wallis. The Bible warned about such people. And these false preachers will bring or already have brought destruction wherever they are. We need to make sure that their influence is not spread like cancer, or they will deceive many. Meaning that we need to educate our people. This is the war at home. Jim Wallis and others will turn our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and our loved ones against us. If they can do that, they can destroy the United States. Lenin once said that the organized minority will defeat the disorganized majority every time. No matter how hopeless the situation in the US may seem, we can't give up. Israel has faced death many times, and yet they survived because they never gave up, not just because God protected them or that they relied on God's help. We need to do the same in this political war we are in.

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