Op-Ed: Saving Your Soul - and Your Life

By Gerard Valentino

(This commentary has also been published at CNSNews.com)

Ohio's concealed carry law allows private property owners to post signs banning the carrying of weapons on their property. As a pro-gun advocate, I am saddened whenever I see such a sign, but never more so than when walking by a local chapter of a large Christian charitable organization.

Having been raised a Christian, I am familiar with the teachings of the Bible and bristle whenever people tell me that self-defense and being Christian don't mix. In fact, Christianity is based on the premise that innocent people should be helped and protected, which is the basis for Christianity's strong pro-life stance.

As someone with medical problems that limit my upper body strength, I probably couldn't fight off a determined attacker long enough for my wife and children to run to safety. That means I might have to take the life of a criminal intent on doing us harm and to that end I never go out in public unarmed. Luckily, for people like me, Ohio's concealed carry law gave citizens back the right to self-defense bestowed by the Creator and affirmed in the United States Constitution.

It also allows me to walk the streets without undue fear for the well being of myself and my family. If the day comes when I have to take the life of an attacker, I will do so knowing my choice was just, right, and well within the teachings of Christ and the Church. I will also go to my Maker knowing my actions will not be judged as wrong.

That is not the message being peddled by any church that posts signs banning legal concealed carry on church property. The signs are actually an outward way of stating that the life of everyone that walks through the door is secondary to a misguided fear of guns, and that the life of a criminal predator is more valuable than law-abiding patrons.

Click 'Read More" for the complete op-ed.

Since God bestowed life upon each individual that means everyone's life is inherently valuable. Therefore love-of-self and self appreciation is also an important tenant in Christ's teachings. In defending my life, I am defending the greatest gift God gave to me.

In contrast, leaving innocent people to be preyed upon cheapens their life and the life of anyone willing to let a criminal attack with impunity.

As long as a person doesn't go looking for the opportunity to kill, and strives at all times to live peacefully, they can choose to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense without living outside the teachings of Christ. Using a gun to defend your life against a criminal is also not acting as a judge of their actions but simply self-preservation. As we've already discussed, the gift of life is a blessing and should be honored by protecting it.

Much like many on the left believe that being anti-gun is a requirement for becoming a member of their quasi-intellectual club; it is currently en vogue for religious leaders of all denominations to speak out against anyone that chooses to own a gun for self-defense. Such an illogical belief is what leads to the posting of no-guns signs at the large Christianity based charity locations in Ohio.

Last week's Louisiana church shooting proved that not everyone entering a place of worship does so with peace in their heart. If such buildings are forbidden to allow concealed carry it gives stalkers, abusive spouses, or someone simply set on revenge an easy way to know if their target can protect themselves. The same is true for workplace parking lot bans, government building bans and other defense free zones created by poorly crafted concealed carry laws nationwide.

That doesn't mean everyone should enter a place of worship armed. Unlike the anti-gun rabble, the pro-gun movement doesn't believe in foisting its belief on everyone else. If someone goes armed, or unarmed, that is their choice and something they have to be comfortable with.

Worshipers, however, should be given the option of carrying a gun for self-defense if they chose to do so. That's not to say the tragedy in Louisiana could have been avoided. But, much like the infamous Alrosa Villa nightclub shooting in Columbus, Ohio, the Luby's massacre in Texas, and the Ohio Jeep plant shooting, the perpetrator knew their victim, and any law-abiding bystanders, would be unarmed.

A very close friend once pointed out that Christians are by definition, pro-life, and therefore are morally obligated to defend the life of the unborn. So, he asked, why should defense of innocent life stop once the child is born?

The answer is simple -- it shouldn't. Based on that simple logic my friend pointed out that it is, therefore, impossible to be pro-life and anti-gun.

Any religion that demands vigilance in defending human life, in all of its forms, must do so for the innocent victims of violent crime as well. Leaving someone at the mercy of an armed criminal is a clear violation of that moral obligation.

That leaves elected officials with the obligation to end the scourge of legislated defenseless zones. Such a change in the law will then leave the leaders of churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship, with only one option, to allow their law-abiding and peaceful legally licensed patrons to carry a gun.

Their decision to do so just might save your life.

Gerard Valentino is the Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio Chair.

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