Faith & Firearms



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Nicki Fellenzer | March 1st, 2004
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This ten year old article is just as relevant today and so we would like to share it with you. Much on this same subject also can be found within our Rabbi Bendory archive here on JPFO.

The government collectively views right and wrong different from the way religion regards right and wrong. Governments are subject to political biases; while religion, even though not immune from political prejudice, sets certain standards for right and wrong that are objectively unchangeable.

Judaism Mandates Self-Defense

It is appalling to see the enemies of freedom use every tool in their considerable arsenal to relieve Americans of their right to keep and bear arms. They will manipulate statistics, maneuver around inconvenient facts and tell outright lies to promote their agenda. However, none of their tricks is more inexcusable than using religion to promote disarmament.

A number of religious organizations today attempt to foist disarmament upon their membership and promote gun control. Among them, Interfaith Neighbors, B`nai B`rith, Congress of National Black Churches, Inc., National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and many others. The Anti-Defamation League is one such group, which, under the guise fighting anti-Semitism, continues to promote disarmament.

From the sanctity of Life comes an imperative to safeguard Life. The directive to defend your life is written in the Talmud, the 70-volume Code of Jewish Law, in at least three places.

The ADL has repeatedly reaffirmed support for gun control initiatives "designed to make it more difficult for extremists as well as children to acquire and use guns and other dangerous weapons in this country." In their zeal to keep those of whom their leadership disapproves disarmed, and in their rush to ensure that children are unprotected, the ADL has repeatedly linked gun control and Judaism together.

Other Jewish groups and individuals also cling to disarmament as a virtue. An article by Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz claims:

In the Talmud there are specific regulations that resemble gun control. There is a law against owning a dangerous dog (Bava Kamma 79a). One who owns a dangerous dog must keep it tied in metal chains at all times (CM 409:3). Even if the dog is defanged or trained not to harm people, it must be chained because it may frighten strangers, and as a result may cause stress related injuries such as miscarriage and heart attacks (Shabbat 63b).

…These sources demonstrate that halacha would require any gun to be carefully locked at all times, with allowances made in cases where the gun is actively being used for security. Those who are more stringent would avoid guns completely…

The only problem with drawing a comparison between gun ownership and owning a dog is that the animal is capable of acting on its own, whether to frighten, bite or attack in any way. A firearm is not capable of such independent action. It requires a human being to pull the trigger. Therefore, keeping a gun locked up does nothing but cut off access to your tool of self-defense.

Therefore, the comparison is disingenuous and misleading. The fact is that gun control subverts and violates Judaic law. According to Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO), the sanctity of life is a core Jewish value. Rabbi Isaac Leizerowski, after having conferred with several of his colleagues, agrees that the right to self-defense is MANDATED by Jewish law. From the sanctity of Life comes an imperative to safeguard Life. The directive to defend your life is written in the Talmud, the 70-volume Code of Jewish Law, in at least three places. "And the Torah says, 'If someone comes to kill you, arise quickly and kill him.'"

And while the individual cases of use of arms are subject to law, and Jews are absolutely prohibited from committing murder (willfully taking an innocent life), Rabbi Leizerowsky agrees no governmental entity should prevent people from keeping and bearing (possessing and carrying) arms, as firearms can be used to defend life, and are the most effective tool on the market today for that purpose.

Religious groups that promote disarmament under the guise of faith are duping you into helplessness.

History shows, says a JPFO's fact sheet, that the murders of Jews by governments occurred because Jews neglected to learn and to practice our religion's teachings, which mandate self-defense.

So why is it that a number of Jewish organizations are virulently anti-gun? Jack Feldman, Professor of Psychology at Georgia Institute of Technology, has one theory: "Jews are called on to care for others who are troubled, suffering, etc. and to stand up for the oppressed," he says. "It's a mitzvah. Democrats and socialists (traditional proponents of gun control) have taken that role, in appearance if not reality…A lot of us have yet to get the message about the Left, and [continue to] cling to these fallacies."

Other faiths also put a specific emphasis on defending life and taking personal responsibility for doing so. Pagan and Wiccan groups have taken up the charge for armed self-defense, forming discussion groups and associations promoting firearms ownership. David Nelson, founder of Stonewall Shooting Sports of Utah, writes, "…defenselessness seems counter-intuitive to all things Pagan. The various Pagan paths with which I'm familiar all revere the divinity of collective inclusion and the sacred nature of synergy; either among people or the universe…To most, this reverence includes a commitment to protect these things from harm. If we honor this commitment, we must include protecting ourselves, as we are integral to our revered inclusion and synergy."

The message is clear: life is sacred, and the defense of life is a mandate. Firearms are simply the tool by which this mandate is accomplished. Religious groups that promote disarmament under the guise of faith are duping you into helplessness. They want you to relinquish your personal responsibility for your life and promote the doctrine of weakness and victimhood. Most religions sanctify life. And faith-based group that promotes defenselessness as a virtue is ignoring the fundamental laws of the religion to which they claim to belong.

— Nicki Fellenzer

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