Tag Archives: Constitution

Beyond Holy Week

While I was on my spring blogging break, I checked the feed during Holy Week to discover the internet was in shambles.  

window bride

window bride

Lines were drawn in the sands across America. The days leading up to Easter saw pundits throw off their gloves to strangle each other in hand-to-hand combat. Facebook profiles hemorrhaged red equal signs matched by a flow of crosses. Twitter burned with the carnage of our civil discourse about gay marriage.

People ridiculed the Bible and took cheap shots at my faith. Folks in some religious circles seemed to suggest Christians just sit this one out. Political strategists advocated surrender, declaring the issue a lost cause in a zero-sum game. Do we want to be right or win elections? 

Scant little was said about how we might address the actual issue: Can we as a nation find a way to extend legal protections to long-term, monogamous gay couples while at the same time protect the religious liberty of those whose faith prohibits homosexuality? I could have missed it, but I haven’t heard much from either side about an equal-but-different, civil-union-type solution.

Maybe we don’t want a solution as much as we want a fight and a Supreme Court verdict like Roe v. Wade. Forty years later, we all know how well that settled the abortion debate.

My sweet father-in-law served two terms as a county commissioner. During his first campaign in 2000, we discussed Roe v. Wade. He expressed to me the frustration of pro-life Christians who felt blindsided by the 1973 Supreme Court ruling. “It happened,” he said, “and we did nothing.”

I naively thought this marked his generation’s legacy with silence and inaction. After Holy Week this year, I think I understand a little more of how he feels.

Proponents of gay marriage think they’re right and that this is a question of equality. If you express a different opinion, you’re labeled a bigot. On the other hand, many Christians think gay marriage is a threat to First Amendment freedoms and that this as a question of religious liberty. If our federal government “redefines” marriage to legally include both heterosexual and homosexual relationships, where does that leave the church? Where does that leave religious schools and institutions?

Will there be exceptions? Or will the state cross the line and require all churches to perform same-sex marriages, hire homosexual staff, and censor the first chapter of Romans or face prosecution for discrimination and hate crimes? Think it could never happen? Private sector examples like Hobby Lobby, Sweet Cakes Bakery, and Arlene’s Flowers show how eagerly religious liberty is being challenged. Is this too a zero-sum game?

The tidal wave of little equal signs and crosses on Facebook and the tumult of mainstream media bias during Holy Week chilled the dialogue of regular citizens. This debate has instilled fear in people to voice their convictions.

But bullying the opposition into silence isn’t progress.

rick warren quote

image from Pure Purpose on Facebook

Some of us are straight. Some of us are gay. All of us defy GodWe’re all guilty; that’s why we’re all in need of Christ. No one is in a position to condemn. But what does it say about my faith if I’m scared silent to speak what I believe?

EstherShadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and Daniel are in the Bible for a reason. So is the account of Jesus before Pilate. There is Truth that stands alone and isn’t relative to our whims, preferences, culture, courts, or circumstances. 

flag in Reagan National

flag in Reagan National

I disagree with the idea that engaging in the political process and conversation means you’ve traded faith in Christ for faith in government. God has blessed American believers the gifts of freedom of speech and religion, among the many other gifts of our Constitution. We are called to be good stewards of those gifts as much as we are called to be good stewards of all the resources God has given us. Use it or lose it.

No one enjoys being the object of ridicule, spite, and retaliation. We hope bullying doesn’t happen and we answer it with grace as best we can when it does. Christ promised that people would hate Christians the same way they hated Him. In all this, God is sovereign; His plans will be accomplished.

Americans may never unanimously agree on social issues like gay marriage and abortion. But I hold out hope we can find ways to live alongside each other in peace, with respect for our different beliefs, and under the protection of our Constitution. 

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. John 18:36-38 NIV

How are you processing the events of Holy Week?

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Filed under America, faith

Women and Guns Photo Essay

photo credit: Windy Borders

photo credit: Windy Borders, pistolsandpumps.com

My research to write about women and guns has connected me with many thoughtful, intelligent, brave women gun owners and enthusiasts. It’s been an honor to hear their stories.

They’re a beautiful bunch.

Take a look at a dozen of the photos they sent me. They communicate a simple, yet profound message: the entire United States Constitution applies to all American citizens, male and female.

United States Constitution. Bill of Rights.

photo credit: Elisabeth Sitton

photo credit: Elisabeth Sitton

Second Amendment. Bearing Arms:

photo credit: Theresa Wegner

photo credit: Theresa Wegner

A WELL REGULATED MILITIA

photo credit: jldphotographyblog.com

photo credit: jldphotographyblog.com

BEING NECESSARY 

photo credit: Charla Balogh

photo credit: Charla Balogh

TO THE SECURITY 

photo credit: Christel Oliphant

photo credit: Christel Oliphant

OF A FREE STATE, 

photo credit: Val Wagner

photo credit: Val Wagner

THE RIGHT 

photo credit: Jesse Bussard

photo credit: Jesse Bussard

OF THE PEOPLE 

photo credit: Marie Bowers

photo credit: Marie Bowers

TO KEEP

photo credit Neena, hooeycritic.com

photo credit: Neena, hooeycritic.com

AND BEAR ARMS

Tiff with Gun

photo credit: Tiffany Nevil

SHALL NOT 

photo credit: Sallie Molina

photo credit: Sallie Molina

BE INFRINGED. 

Now hear this: One Woman Army by Kate Earl. A brilliant, new favorite. There’s a sweet twist at the end of the video, so watch the whole thing.

cwgcover

Chicks with Guns by Lindsay McCrum

If you liked this post, you’ll love Lindsay McCrum’s stunning book of photography, Chicks with Guns. Real women with the real guns they own.

You’ll also love The Debutante Hunters, a documentary short by Maria White. The film, featuring Lowcountry women who hunt, won the Audience Award in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The Debutante Hunters will be released on iTunes this spring.

Disclosure: I am not being compensated to promote Chicks with Guns, The Debutante Hunters, or the U.S. Constitution. 

If you’re a woman who owns a gun and would like to share your story, please email aimee (at) everyday epistle (dot) com.

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Filed under America, women's studies

Women Gun Owners Shoot Straight

Today my first story about American women gun owners was published on The Broad Side, an online women’s opinion magazine.

Photo credit Charla Balogh

click for Women Gun Owners Shoot Straight About Firearms, Violence, Second Amendment, photo credit: Charla Balogh

I’m grateful to the women gun owners and others who generously shared their personal stories for this post. Their impassioned narratives inspire me.

You know that Titanic feeling you get the moment you realize you may have hit the tip of an iceberg?

I’m astounded that my informal request to hear from women who own guns is still yielding heartfelt responses. It’s as if women gun owners haven’t been asked to comment on our country’s current gun debate. Or, if they have been asked, their perspectives have largely been ignored.

I don’t own a gun, but the research I’ve done so far about gun rights gives me pause. What if I want or need a gun in the future and can’t get one because the government says so?

What if, by not exercising my Second Amendment right to bear arms, I inadvertently jeopardize that right for my fellow citizens like the law-abiding women in my article, not to mention for myself, my son, and generations of Americans yet to come?

Our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) must be rolling over in their graves right about now.

Photo credit Marie Bowers

photo credit Marie Bowers

My head is spinning with story ideas to follow (including plans for a photo essay of all the wonderful pictures the women gun owners sent me). But for today, I ask you to click over to The Broad Side to read Women Gun Owners Shoot Straight About Firearms, Violence, Second Amendment. Whether you are pro-guns or pro-gun control, I’d appreciate your thoughtful and respectful comments, and I’d covet your shares of the post.

The Broad Side admittedly skews left. Publishing an article like this is a big step for them, and I admire their courage to do so. I hope you’ll join me in demonstrating how listening to different perspectives on controversial topics is one of the best ways to ensure the health of our republic.

Please read:

Women Gun Owners Shoot Straight About Firearms, Violence, Second Amendment

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Filed under America, women's studies