by: James Atwood
Author awarded the 2019 Beard Atwood Award from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
One hundred people die from gun violence every day in the United States. Some fifty children and teens are shot. There are more than 35,000 gun-related deaths every year. Yet many Christians say gun violence shouldn’t be talked about in church.
In Collateral Damage, pastor and activist James E. Atwood issues an urgent call to action to Christians to work together to stop gun violence. An avid hunter for many years, Atwood enumerates the tragic and far-reaching costs that accrue in a country with more guns than people. Collateral damage includes a generalized fear and loss of trust. Suicides and homicides. Trauma for children in neighborhoods plagued by gun violence and in schools with frequent lockdown drills. A toxic machismo that shapes our boys and men in unhealthy ways. Economic costs that exceed $229 billion per year. Atwood also considers the deeper story of racism, inequality, and mass incarceration in which the conversation about gun violence is lodged.
Gun violence has been called the theological emergency of our time. The church has a moral and spiritual obligation to side with life against death. Will we rise to the occasion?