Dear Gun Advocates,


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Dear Gun Advocates,

I know many of you, and I want you to know that I love you.  But I do not trust you.  Please understand that I do not think you are bad people; I know you are not.  I just don’t trust what having lethal force in your hands has meant to the United States and what it means in this world going forward.  Whether it is police who have all-too-human or blatantly racist biases or “good guys” who pull the trigger, stray bullets from gang violence or someone who is genuinely “mentally ill” or just very sad one day…I don’t trust you.  I can’t afford to take that chance any longer, and neither can you.

Guns for defense against other human beings have always been tools of oppression and cultural division in the United States.  Guns are directly linked to the most shame filled episodes of race, class and gender hatred in our shared history. Native people, African slaves, women, the Chinese, the poor (and now Latin-x immigrants) have all been at times legally obstructed from gun ownership and/or literally used as targets in the wake of those restrictions.

Today’s mass shooting epidemic is also racialized and gendered by how the vast majority of the crimes in the last 35 years have been committed by white men.  The pattern is too stark to ignore and it chills this African American to his core.  Gun advocates, I do not trust you with my safety and if suicide statistics are any indication (particularly among white men), you shouldn’t either.

As a faith leader, my respect for the unique human relationship to our consciousness of life and death tells me we have no need for guns.  Trusting any human being with weapons of mass destruction in the back of their pick-up truck or sitting in the front seat of their Prius is careless disregard for the awesome power of life and living that we possess. Our bodies are born into this world as sacred gifts not as pawns in an asinine political game of brinkmanship.

And where is the common sense?

Our national military is bigger than the next seven militaries in the world combined.

We have more guns than people.

No one dies more than once.

This is not defense.  This is not ordained by God.  This is not a “right.” This is fear. This is protracted self-harm. This is destroying everyone.

Gun advocates, I love you and my soul aches to define you by an instrument of death, but I do not trust you, even though we both say we love liberty.  Sadly, you’ve forgotten that in order to have liberty, we must first have life.

– Rev. Adam Lawrence Dyer

 

A Good Guy With a Penis…

Now that, thanks to Alabama, we are on the road BACK to the Supreme Court to legislate women’s bodies, their rights and their legitimacy, I’m wondering where the good guy with a penis comes in? “Gun rights” (a total oxymoron) activists think that somehow more people with guns will stop the bad actors with guns in emergencies, when it has clearly been proven that more guns simply mean more gun deaths[1].  So, by this kind of logic doesn’t it stand to reason that if women can’t be trusted to have responsibility for their bodies that there would be more onus on men to NOT impregnate them?

Apparently, men have nothing to do with pregnancy except being able to tell a woman what she must do with it.  Men are not mentioned ONCE in HB 314, even though German death camps (yes, the bill can’t seem to stomach to name Nazis or The Holocaust) and Chinese and Rwandan genocide are mentioned[2].  The bill does manage to invoke the founding fathers by reminding us that “In the United States Declaration of Independence, the principle of natural law that “all men are created equal” was articulated” in the same breath that the bill mentions “the American civil rights movement” (yes, you read that correctly…small “c”), the “anti-slavery movement” and the Nuremberg war crimes trials (?!?!?!). Never mind that the phrase “all men” as written by Jefferson and accepted by his narrow demographic peers quite intentionally did not include non-white humans of any kind, indentured people and most certainly not people with a vulva.

There are 140 seats in the Alabama state legislature.  Of those seats, only 22 are held by women (15.7%) and of those 22 there are only 7 Republicans[3] of which Rep. Terri Collins who introduced the bill is one.  Still HB 314 passed with only one Democratic “yea” vote. Men did this.  Men commit marital rape.  Men force women to get abortions.  Men force women to raise children alone.  Men did this.

In a country that has never properly acknowledged how it was built on the rape of non-white women to produce more white wealth, the direction of HB 314 does not bode well.  History tells us that men won’t hold each other accountable for the way women are abused, whether that be in a domestic violence situation or in this situation with the right to manage pregnancy.  We watched it with the Kavanaugh trial with the Stanford rape case and countless other campus rapes, and we see it now.  There is no good guy with a penis.  Men in the United States are culturally biased to regard women as possessions that are subject to their will and to ignore their agency…sometimes in settings where “boys will be boys” and sometimes quite publicly, as they are now.

These state laws restricting and eliminating a woman’s divine right to manage her body and its ability and responsibilities with regard to conception cannot stand.  For a religious leader like me they are a total denial of the Unitarian Universalist Principles and they should be fought as an affront to religious liberty.  Roe v. Wade must be preserved and permanently protected.  What is more, there need to be much more explicit laws and activism concerning men’s role in the creation of life.  If men are so concerned about the sanctity of life, where are the Anti-Impregnation movements?  Where are the legal restrictions on men and ejaculation?  Why aren’t we legislating Viagra and erections?  Because men operate under the grossly misconceived assumption that every guy with a penis is good.  Frankly, we’d be safer if they all had guns.

If you’re wondering what kind of dismal prospects exist for those who may be at risk of carrying a pregnancy to term after an incestuous rape, have a look at Alabama’s age of consent laws which are entirely binary gendered and refer to non-vaginal sex as “deviate” (HERE)

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41488081

[2] https://legiscan.com/AL/text/HB314/id/1980843/Alabama-2019-HB314-Introduced.pdf

[3] http://www.ncsl.org/legislators-staff/legislators/womens-legislative-network/women-in-state-legislatures-for-2019.aspx