Though white evangelicals are less likely than average Americans to push for stricter gun laws, the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has promoted pastors to advocate for “sensible” gun restrictions to help prevent more attacks. Count Max Lucado and Pat Robertson among those speaking out.
Robertson spoke out in favor of banning automatic weapons and bumb stocks, which allow semi-automatic rifles to fire more quickly.
“I’ve got no opposition whatsoever to shooting, but for heaven’s sakes, I don’t think that the general population needs to have automatic weapons,” said the Christian Broadcasting Network founder, himself a politically conservative gun owner and a defender of the Second Amendment. Robertson also voiced support for tighter background checks.
Meanwhile, Max Lucado, Joel Hunter, and Lynne Hybels were among 15 evangelical leaders who launched a petition for gun safety in America days after the latest shooting.
“We call on our fellow Christian believers, church leaders, and pastors across the country to declare that we will decisively respond to this problem with both prayer and action,” they stated.
The petition cited a “biblical responsibility” to lobby for common-sense gun legislation, to encourage gun owners to secure their own firearms, and to help those with severe mental illness get professional help.
Other initial signers include Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute president Rob Schenck, author Preston Sprinkle, Texas Baptist leader Guy Reyes, and Murdock Trust director Romanita Hairston-Overstreet.
Most Americans believe that stricter gun laws (58%) and better health services (77%) could have prevented the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Additionally, the Pew Research Center reports that evangelicals are the only religious group “in which a plurality (40%) say that putting more emphasis on God and morality in school and society is the most important thing that could be done to prevent future shootings.”
About the Author
Kate Shellnutt writes for Christianity Today.