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Gun Control and Violence

My Gun Control Conversion – A Preacher’s Position on the Orlando Mass Shooting

The massacre in Orlando at the gay nightclub over the weekend has left me, like so many, on an emotional roller coaster. I am heart broken one second and enraged the next. It has taken me some time to gather myself on even where to begin to discuss this situation. There is so much to say. First, I want to say how proud I am of my church, Sunnyside Baptist Church in Toccoa Georgia.

Entering church on Sunday, I was unaware of the shooting. It happened after I was asleep on Saturday, and getting the family ready for church, we did not turn on the tv on Sunday. In our morning worship service, we have a time where people can share prayer concerns, and we had a church member announce we needed to pray for the victims in Orlando. I pastor a theologically conservative church believing that homosexuality is against God’s word, but last Sunday, we knelt together to pray and lift up the LGBT community in Orlando and the loved ones affected by this horrific shooting. Disagreeing on moral issues does not have to equal hatred or bigotry. It doesn’t at Sunnyside and most other churches. I was proud to see my church show compassion and love to those in need, regardless of lifestyle.

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Hit and Miss – A Preacher’s Position on Gun Control Executive Order

IMG_7154I watched President Obama’s speech regarding his impending Executive Order(s) dealing with Gun Control. There were aspects that I thought were powerful and other moments where I felt he was missing the target.  Now, before all the anti-gun control folks start patting me on the back, hold on just a minute. I have to apply and reapply for a license to drive a car. I have to go through comprehensive testing to drive a bus or motorcycle. I have to show my drivers license and sign my name at the pharmacy to purchase an over the counter medicine for my stuffy head. I cannot even buy prescription glasses for myself without a recent eye exam. I think all of those restrictions are reasonable, by the way. I think it is absolutely nuts that I can anonymously purchase a firearm at a gun show or online! Not to mention some of the ridiculous weaponry available that are far beyond hunting and self defense. I am not for taking away all guns, but I am for being reasonble.  Anyway, I am now a little off point.

Let me begin by what the President got right. In his speech, he promised more money for Mental Healthcare. I think this was great. Not only do we need Mental Healthcare more available for individuals and families, we need to remove the stigma of Mental Healthcare from our society. Mental Health issues should not be viewed any different than Physical Health issues. A person suffering from an anxiety disorder should not have a different stigma attached to him or her than a person suffering from Parkinson’s. I hope the President’s support of Mental Healthcare will be a big step toward bringing Mental Health from the shadows of the medical profession and into the mainstream. I hope that visiting your psychiatrist will be no more shocking than visiting your podiatrist.

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