Is America's obsession with guns linked to our Christian culture?
That's the question asked by pastor and avid hunter James E. Atwood as he discusses his new book America and Its Guns: A Theological Expose on Thursday, June 13, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
His presentation is co-sponsored by Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, American Friends Service Committee, Community Christian Church, Heartland Presbytery, Penn Valley Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Rime Buddhist Center, Second Presbyterian Church, St. Thomas More Parish Justice Ministry Team, and the Visitation Parish Faith Formation Team.
Atwood contends that the 30,000 gun deaths America suffers every year cannot be understood apart from our national myth that God has appointed America as "the trustee of the civilization of the world" and even "Christ's light to the nations."
Because these purposes are noble and we are supposedly a good and trustworthy people, violence is sometimes "required" and gives license to individuals to carry open or concealed weapons, which "save lives" and can even be "redemptive."
Atwood cautions that an absolute trust in guns and violence morphs easily into idolatry. Having spent 36 years as a Presbyterian pastor fighting easy access to firearms -- one of which took the life of a friend -- he uses his unique experience and his biblical and theological understanding to graphically portray the impact guns have on our society.
He documents how Americans have been deceived into believing that the tools of violence, whether they take the form of advanced military technology or a handgun in the bedside stand, will provide security. He closes with a wake-up call to the faith community, which he says is America's best hope to unmask the extremism of the "gun empire."
Atwood is pastor emeritus of Trinity Presbyterian Church of Arlington, Virginia, and chair of Heeding God's Call of Greater Washington, a faith-based ecumenical movement encouraging gun shops to adopt a code of conduct that deters illegal purchases and the trafficking of handguns.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.