The pettiness of political games, however, is not what grieves me most. Your greatest failure this week was one of virtue. You chose expediency over the common good. You chose to protect your own power rather than to protect the needs of our country. You chose to reward criminals with their illegal guns rather than to give comfort to the innocent who will die at their hands.
When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, one of his followers drew his sword to defend him. Our Lord rebuked that man, saying, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). You voted this week to keep the gun in hand rather than to lay it down.
Our Lord preached openly the way of peace and humility, rather than that of violence and raging pride. You complain that the bill you voted against would have infringed the rights of gun owners—but I ask you, where is the Lord’s command, and where are the lives of the innocent? Not eye for an eye, he said, but, “Do not resist an evildoer. If anyone should strike you on the right cheek, turn the other also. Love your enemies and pray for them, and love one another as I have loved you” (Matthew 5:38-44 and John 15:12). Pray and love, my dear Senators, not shoot. In his very actions, Jesus offered us a continual example of the greatest of virtues, of love that suffers and endures all things but never seeks to harm another. When the Romans sought to persecute and even to kill his earliest followers, those Christians did not take up arms or engage in violence, but, following the evangelical commands and imitating Christ rather than the world, they submitted themselves even to death with humility and joy.
But you seem this week to have forgotten the evangelical virtue of patient love of neighbor and chosen instead the craven vice of serving yourself. You have forgotten your vocation to be citizens of the eternal City of God, choosing instead to act according to your citizenship in the worldly city, beholden as you are to its petty and perverse contests of mortal power and sin. You had the opportunity to act on behalf of peace, but instead, you allowed the political threats of the NRA to cow you into silence.
I pray that our Lord will have mercy on you when you come before him in judgment, to answer for those innocents who will die because you did nothing to keep guns out of the hands of their persecutors. But if you are not swayed by the evangelical charge of heaven and the precious price of Christ’s blood, poured out to save you and all your fellow men, then perhaps you can be bought by the cheaper currency of worldly affairs: so long as you offer protection to violence but not to peace, you shall never have my vote in any future election for any office of this land.Sincerely,
Nathaniel M. Campbell