In her May 12 opinion column in the Washington Post, Karen Attiah wrote about the allure of gun culture, following yet another mass shooting in her home state of Texas.

“In the United States, the holy symbol for our cult is the gun, and its sacred text is the Second Amendment. So how do we combat the cult of toughness? How do we stem the creation of criminals?” she writes.

Attiah moderated a panel on “Why Gun Safety is a Reproductive Issue, Too” at the Center for the Study of Guns & Society’s May 5 symposium, “Lessons from History on Domestic Violence, Firearms, and the Law.” In her column, she addresses some of the issues related to the role of firearms in American life that researchers, lawyers, historians and movement workers grappled with at the symposium.

One interesting idea, brought up at the conference dinner, was how religious communities, particularly churches, could act as centers of spiritual resistance to America’s cult of gun death. As a former evangelical Christian, I grew up seeing people renounce all manner of things to deepen their faith in God. I remember seeing people bring empty alcohol bottles to church, pledging to give up drinking. Others testified to giving up drugs. What if prominent pastors and spiritual influencers were to begin renouncing guns?

After all, the Bible says, “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you.” And holding a gun in that hand, having guns in a household, makes it easier for people in a household to violate (intentionally or accidentally) the sixth commandment — “thou shall not kill.” This being the case, simple deductive reasoning raises a question: Shouldn’t guns be cast out of Christian homes?

What if conservative, gun-owning pastors were to set an example, give up their guns to honor God and challenge their congregations to walk in faith, not in a spirit of fear?

“How to Reckon with the Cult of the Gun,” by Karen Attiah, Washington Post, May 12, 2023.

Read the column.