taking the words of Jesus seriously

An evil time-loop repeating itself over and over again, a Groundhog Day from hell, that’s what it must be. One day, it is San Jose; the day before, it was Boulder; before that, Atlanta; and tomorrow, my town or your city, my parent, your wife, our children. We have been here before.

This is far from the first article I have written about the insanity of our current gun legislation (or lack of it) and the idiotic interpretation of the second amendment by the far right and a compelling moral argument for change. 

Yet here we are again and again and again. The pundits pun and the commentators comment: more is gleaned about the weapons, the ammunition, the killer and their motives, their mental state, acquaintances or friends, the outrage and brokenness, the heartbreak, the crying and emotional travail. It’s just so senselessly repetitive. It seems that we have a very convenient and deliberate way of packaging these incidents into digestible bits of information, which, when combined with time, permit our collective memories to dissolve and dismiss them. We move on without ever dealing with real issues–issues which could lessen the impact of the next incident, an incident that is most certainly moving toward us with the speed of a bullet shot from a gun.  

So instead of writing another emotionally charged, morally outraged article and adding to the endless barrage of outcry, I want to offer something different. Please, for the love of God, for the sake of those not yet killed by the next mass shooting, consider becoming a “single issue voter.” 

It’s like a club, “The Single-Issue Voter Club,” and my single issue is “common sense gun legislation”. Since sensible gun legislation is a deeply political issue, its solution is equally political. Throughout the history of our country and government, only one thing has proven powerful enough to bring about comprehensive political change and that is political pressure. Political pressure moves political mountains and is born of political will. Despite the good intentions, emotional appeal, and moral outrage, the outpouring of guilt, finger pointing and sorrow, only political pressure can change the political landscape. When political will is fractured, political pressure becomes diluted. Since the large majority of Americans support sensible gun legislation, the potential is there for change. However, only by focusing that political will can it be realized. By focusing on one issue with concentrated tenacity, running all issues and candidates through that paradigm, political pressure can be brought to bear, and political change realized.

The last election is a good example. I had several issues that were important to me, more than important, part of my core belief system. Issues of right to life, police training, taxation and a host of important concerns were running through my head as I cast my ballot. Being an independent voter, I was able to vote across the aisle in both the primary and general elections, picking my candidates according to their positions, a shopping list of issues both red and blue. 

READ: Overturn Dylann Roof’s Death Sentence — for Me, Not for Him

But I have changed my dynamic by voting to bring pressure on only one issue first and foremost “common sense gun legislation”. I am following the advice of Barack Obama. The day after a shooting spree he said those who support gun control would “just have to, for a while, be a single-issue voter” if gun laws in America were ever going to change.

Stating in a press conference: “Here’s what you need to do: You have to make sure that anybody that you are voting for is on the right side of this issue,” if politicians oppose gun safety measures “Even if they’re great on other stuff, you’ve got to vote against them.” If we recall the battle over slavery, no amount of moral guilt shaming and emotional outrage was able to pierce through the self-interest of confirmation bias in the slave holding south. Only sheer political will and arm twisting on the part of Lincoln and his team won the day. Reluctantly and against their will the south was forced to change. 

And is this not the essence of our faith? In Luke 9:62 Jesus teaches us to commit with more than words by going “all in.”

 “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.”

Speaking of “use” and “usefulness”, James says in 2:20, “You fool! Do you want to be shown that faith without actions is useless”? 

Useless is the definition of complaining about the world as it is without taking the actions required to change it. Faith requires us to meet this evil not with prayer alone but prayerful action and determination. If you feel helpless to do anything about the current state of gun violence in our country consider the action of your vote and speak out against gun violence with it. Yes, there are many issues of dire importance, however within the Single-Issue Voter Club, first and foremost each candidate is sifted through the “Stop Gun Violence” lens.

Universal background checks

Red Flag Legislation

Mandatory waiting periods

Gun Licensing and training

Assault style weapons ban

High-capacity magazines and silencer/suppressor bans

Funding of the CDC for research into national gun violence 

These are the questions I ask of a candidate before any other considerations including “democrat or republican”. Further: do they support groups like Prevention Institute?

I have committed to support these groups before any political party because I am a single-issue voter. Only then, after these considerations are vetted, other political and societal issues are addressed. 

I know it is hard, even heartbreaking to put pressing concerns on the back burner, but this is what it will take to change gun laws in America and now is the time. Yes, we are outraged, but what are we willing to do about it? Are we willing to postpone other priorities and passions, sacrificing them now to change America’s future gun violence? I wish you might join the “Single- Issue Voter Club.”

I assure you that when America’s gun laws do change it will not be due to eloquent articles, emotional appeal and moral outrage, it will be due to pure political pressure, arm twisting and expedience by those in office, pressure put on them by those who were willing to sacrificed other priorities to accomplish what no moral outrage and eloquent speech could. 

So, let’s make it happen now. How many more horrors must we endure, whose town, city, or child will tomorrow’s mass shooting take? I beg you, join me in the “Single Issue Voter Club.”

About The Author


Stephen Carey is the founding pastor of Main Street Mission, an inner city Christian street ministry. For more than 20 years, Main Street Mission has been “seeking and saving that which was lost” on the streets of Manchester, NH from a small storefront church. Steve is also active in recovery from substance abuse and is author of "9 Keys of Recovery," an addiction recovery program based on the teachings of Jesus. Steve and his wife Carol of 35 years are the proud parents of three boys. They live in the southern NH area with their springer spaniel, Oreo. Steve enjoys writing, fly fishing, and woodworking. View more of Steve’s work at WWW.OrnansThreshingFloor.com Ornan’s Threshing Floor is a selection of journal entries, sermon parts and pieces, and both secular and faith-based writings.

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