American humorist Will Rogers once said, "I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." Ol’ Will would have loved the Georgia Legislature. They are the gift that keeps on giving.
Our intrepid public servants believe they have identified the No. 1 issue that has vexed "We the Unwashed" for far too long in Georgia: Being allowed to bring guns to church. Guns for God.
The bad news is that most of us don’t believe being allowed to bring concealed weapons to church is the No. 1 issue vexing us right now. Given a moment, we could probably think of several things that vex us more — like taxes, health-care costs and the cozy relationship between legislators and lizard-loafered lobbyists. That doesn’t seem to matter to the boys and girls under the Gold Dome. They are determined to make "Guns for God" a reality to appease the powerful gun lobby.
No Republican worth his or her salt wants to be accused of being soft on the Second Amendment, and that includes the right to bear arms in God’s House. So they are pushing a sweeping gun bill that would include guns in church. When we strap on our bandoliers and head off to Sunday school, they want us to remember who to thank come election time.
If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir softly humming "God Bless America" in the background as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston exhort their colleagues to do the patriotic thing and make Guns for God a reality so that we will never again have to enter a house of worship without being locked-and-loaded. This is particularly important in Christian churches, where Jesus teaches us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, especially those with a .357 Magnum."
I haven’t discussed Guns for God with Dr. Gil Watson, the World’s Greatest Preacher, but I assume he can’t be too thrilled with the idea. Not only does he face the continuing challenge of trying to save my sorry soul; now he’s got to worry about the prospects of a shootout halfway between the "Gloria Patri" and the Offertory.
I hope our legislators have considered the fact that Guns for God is going to mean fundamental curriculum changes in divinity schools and seminaries across the land. Future religious leaders will not only be expected to be proficient in the Old Testament; they are also going to have to master the disassembly of a Glock 29 SF. ("OK, students. That’s enough about the Book of Isaiah for today. Please get your .45s out and let’s talk about the rotating takedown lever and the M&P tactical sight.")
A recent poll in the Atlanta newspapers said 72 percent of us don’t want guns in church. According to the paper, the responses were generally consistent among rural and urban residents, as well as those who identified themselves as conservative, independent and liberal.
Who cares? Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) majority whip in the State House of Representatives, said that he and his colleagues don’t pay that much attention to polls. They are too busy having their strings pulled by the gun lobby.
Our intrepid public servants were set to arm our college kids, too, and to put the burden on the institutions’ presidents to make the final decision as to whether or not they wanted a bunch of hormone-laden kids strolling around campus twirling their six guns. Then, the lawmakers discovered that foisting that decision off on the presidents was unconstitutional. Which begs the question: If lawmakers are so all-fired eager to get guns into our state colleges and universities, why were they trying to pass the buck to the college presidents?
As for bringing guns to church, a Federal Appeals Court shot down that idea in 2012, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on that decision. I guess that means carrying guns in court probably won’t fly, either. Dang. Gun advocates just can’t get a break.
Before you get your camos in a wad, I support the Second Amendment, but I would rather see our legislators recalibrate and take a shot first at telling us how they are going to curb our state’s shameful record of child abuse. We have lost a lot more kids to violence in Georgia than we have lost churchgoers to gunfights.
To paraphrase Will Rogers, Guns for God is a joke, and a bad one at that.
You can reach Dick Yarborough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Ga. 31139.