In Guns We Trust
English Catholic priest Fr. Michael Murphy, commenting in The Tablet following the US Senate’s rejection of bipartisan gun control legislation, has observed a disconnect between second-amendment maximalism and our national claim to trust in God.
While the people of the United States hold their Constitution and its Amendments as sacred, they do so also with their nation’s motto, ‘In God we trust.’ There appears, at this time, to be a conflict between the interpretation of the Second Amendment and the motto.
The motto dates from 1957, replacing the original motto, E pluribus unum, (‘Out of many, one’). No doubt the folks in 1791 America also trusted God, but the frequent use of the word, ‘wild’, as in ‘The Wild West’, in descriptions of the conditions in which they lived, when no police force existed in their country, gives us a clue as to why they also placed so much trust in possessing their own gun.
But gradually, over time, the gun became the supreme symbol of courage.
Stamping the phrase “In God we trust” beside the images of Caesar on our currency may already raise questions about who we’re really trusting. Fr. Murphy raises the same question with regard to the popular American perception of “the use of a gun by a good guy against a bad guy as being the perfect act of courage.” In what kind of God do we trust if that is our sacred symbol? If we believe that only unrestricted access to assault weapons can keep us safe, do we really trust in a God who sent his son to demonstrate true courage by emptying himself, returning good for evil, suffering death rather than inflicting it?
Or is it in another god we trust?