The Lynchburg, Virginia school asserts on its website, “Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.”
Speaking about the Dec. 3 shooting in San Bernardino, Ca., Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. suggested Friday that more students, staff and faculty get permits to carry concealed weapons. Within a day, dozens of people had already begun the process of obtaining permits to carry guns on campus.
“I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” he said, as applause drowned him out. It’s clear by the context he was speaking about the Dec. 3 shooters, and not all members of the Islamic faith.
“Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,” Falwell told the students.
The problem isn’t Falwell’s seemingly anti-Muslim position. The problem is his clearly unChristian stance.
Nowhere in scripture does Jesus suggest killing or hurting anyone.
(Some misunderstand Jesus when he says, “do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt 10:34) This is metaphorical, not literal. It’s so metaphorical, and ironic, that it represents the people who are separated from others because they follow Jesus.)
In Luke, Jesus tells his disciples to buy a sword, but even the co-founder of Liberty University doesn’t believe Jesus intended his followers to use a literal sword violently.
In fact, in the only example of a Jesus follower responding with violence, Jesus tells him,
“Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matt 26:52)
To be a Christian, a follower of Jesus, means to respond like Jesus, right?
Jesus tells us to not respond to evil with evil. To turn the other cheek. To love our enemies. In fact, Jesus tells us to love everyone.
Jesus tells us to pray for the Dec. 3 shooters, and their orphaned child.
And Jesus tells us to not be afraid.
Why do people carry guns? Because they are afraid they will be confronted by someone with a gun.
Speaking to the students, Falwell implied that he had a gun in his pocket on stage. He spoke more about guns than he did Jesus, or love, or kindness.
I understand the context of what he was saying, and the possibility he might have offered prayers earlier, but the fact remains, you can’t talk shooting people while you’re following Jesus. It just doesn’t work that way. Scripture is clear. Jesus is clear. The life and example of Jesus are crystal clear.
Liberty students have a much better chance of accidentally discharging guns or using them in domestic disputes than they do ever stopping a mass shooter. It’s fearful and irrational to believe that concealed guns are a Christian response.
But what about defending ourselves, or our families, you may ask?
What’s Jesus’ response? To fight back, or to allow himself to be hit again? Do we curse those who attack us, or pray for them? Do we pull out a weapon, or do we love them like God loves us?
If Christians have Jesus, why do they need guns?
If Christians have guns, do they really have Jesus?
What kind of Christianity are they teaching at Liberty University? Because it certainly isn’t the message of Jesus and it isn’t in the Bible.