After Shooting In Southern Baptist Church, Denomination Stays Away From Gun Control Stance | Nashville Public Radio

After Shooting In Southern Baptist Church, Denomination Stays Away From Gun Control Stance

Nov 6, 2017

The head the Southern Baptist Convention's political arm says there's no gun control policy outlined in the Bible. And so the powerful Nashville-based denomination isn't taking a position, even after more than 20 members of a Texas congregation were murdered in their own sanctuary on Sunday.

The country's largest protestant denomination frequently takes positions on the most controversial matters — like gay marriage and abortion. But not on guns.

"I don't think there is a gun control policy outlined in scripture," says Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "There is a commitment to human life and to the protection of human life, but I think Christians can disagree on what the specific policies ought to be to get there."

Moore wrote an editorial immediately after the shooting in Sutherland Springs with virtually no mention of firearms, making a point that instead of instilling fear, these tragedies make the church stronger.

The Southern Baptist Convention has sent some of its top leaders to be with the church in Sutherland Springs and offered to pay all funeral expenses of victims.

Looking to the future, Moore says congregations will take additional precautions.

"I don't expect that churches will become forts that are under siege," he says. "But I do think that churches are asking 'do we have the proper policies in place to make sure that we can do the best we can to keep this sort of thing from happening.'"

Moore says there's something "awry" when people immediately start talking about gun control legislation after mass shootings rather than asking "what's gone wrong with humanity?" He says the gun debate is not like others where evangelicals weigh in.

"It's not the sort of disagreement that we have on other issues in American life, where we really do have two very different visions of what the country should be or what a family should be," he says. "There are not people calling for violence. There's instead people who just don't think that these measures work in anything other than a cathartic sense."