Imagine that you received a letter from your state government informing you that religious expression outside of private homes and religious buildings was now a crime. Imagine that you are now required to have a license from the government in order to preach in your church or other religious building. Imagine that in order to possess a Bible, a Koran or a Torah you would have to have a license from the government and provide proof that you have purchased a $1,000,000 insurance policy. Imagine that your denomination’s schools were required – under threat of criminal prosecution - to admit people who do not agree with your denomination’s doctrine. Imagine that this same law requires your schools to hire teachers whose doctrine and practice conflict with your beliefs. Imagine that religious instruction of anyone under 18 is forbidden.
Last of all, imagine that when you and your congregation protest these laws, pointing to the plain wording of the 1st Amendment, the response from the government is, “We don’t care what that says, we will pass and enforce any restrictions on religion we want to”, or “The 1st Amendment allows reasonable restrictions on religion – we consider these restrictions reasonable.”
We all know that religious freedom has is under attack – but so far the plain wording of the 1st Amendment has prevented the outrages described above. However, there is another constitutional right under attack and suffering equally outrageous violation: The people’s rights under the 2nd Amendment.
The plain reading of the 2nd Amendment clearly protects a right to keep and bear arms in exactly the same way that a plain reading of the 1st Amendment protects freedom of speech, the press and religion. The Supreme Court has twice ruled that it protects a personal right to keep and bear firearms in “common use” by the public. If government can simply ignore the right protected under the 2nd Amendment, they can ignore any right protected by the Bill of Rights, INCLUDING FREEDOM OF RELIGION.
You may not like guns. You may think that they should be heavily regulated or even banned. If that describes you, I plead with you to consider the implications of such laws. The Constitution provides a way to accomplish your goal: Repeal or amend the 2nd Amendment. By supporting laws that violate it, you are sowing the seeds of your own destruction.
Of particular concern are the battles taking place in many states such as New York, California and Colorado. These battles are being lead and financed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His anti-religious bigotry is well known. This is the same man who banned clergy at the memorial for the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. The same man who threw small struggling churches out of New York public school buildings they had rented for years. He did praise a decision to allow an Islamic center to be built near Ground Zero – but the Greek Orthodox Church obliterated on 9-11 has faced years of city government opposition to it’s rebuilding on or even near the site.
Then there are Bloomberg’s well-known attacks on personal freedom. No sodas over 16oz., bans on salt in restaurant food, and worst of all: Stop and frisk. If you are a young minority male, you can expect to be stopped and physically searched with little or no “probable cause” several times each month – a direct violation of the Bill of Rights.
Now this same man is spending millions upon millions of dollars to hire lobbyists and give money to lawmakers in any state that has the slightest chance of passing new gun control laws. His approach is simple: Tell state lawmakers that they can either vote for his bills – literally written by his lawyers – and have his support, or they can listen to their constituents and vote against them, in which case Bloomberg will throw that same money behind their opponent in the next election.
Are some of the laws he supports constitutional? Yes, but many are questionable and many, many more are clearly in violation of the 2nd Amendment as applied by the Supreme Court. What is his goal? Simple: Disarm as many Americans as possible. I do not know what Mayor Bloomberg’s intentions are, but this greatly concerns me.
I am asking you to join with me in support of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Many years ago, Martin Niemöller penned his famous statement about how civil rights were lost in Germany:
First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Catholic.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
My fellow clergy: They are coming for gun owners – and if they succeed in disarming the American public, a great deterrent to tyranny will be lost. The time to speak out is now.
I urge you to follow this link, review the statement and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to add your name to the statement.
You can also add your name by commenting on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clergy-in-Support-of-the-2nd-Amendment/436340226444357