A Letter to My Daughter for her Civics Project

IMG_2384For those of you who are worried about the government brainwashing our children with Obama’s “socialist propaganda,” I present my daughter. My problem with Obama is that I do not think he is socialist enough, yet Kyla comes often comes home from school parroting political opinions that make me throw up in my mouth a little.

Last night, she told me that she was going to do a civics project where she had to write a letter to her senator about a topic she cared about. She chose gun control, or as she put it, “I want to write against people who are trying to take away our right to own guns.”


Continue reading “A Letter to My Daughter for her Civics Project”

Why Killing in Self-Defense is Still a Sin

St. George & the Dragon, detail [Wikimedia Commons]
St. George & the Dragon, detail [Wikimedia Commons]
I recently wrote that a Christian should not carry a concealed weapon because it violated the spirit of martyrdom and self-sacrifice the church tries to teach us. One common objection to this point was that to choose not to kill in the defense of another human being would be unloving. I agree. It would be unloving to the potential victim, and it would be unloving to the potential victimizer. In the Orthodox Church, killing in defense of self and country is still a sin. Continue reading “Why Killing in Self-Defense is Still a Sin”

Gun Control: Should A Christian Carry?

Cain and Abel [Wikimedia Commons]
Many of my fellow Christians are also vociferous defenders of so-called “gun rights.” They believe that an armed society is a safe society, and that the founding fathers intended an armed populace to be the last line of defense against tyranny. But sometimes our public debates can keep us from asking tough “in-house” questions. Lost in the debate over whether citizens can bear arms is the important question of whether Christians should bear arms. I am not talking about owning weapons for hunting or sport. I am talking about actually carrying a concealed weapon. Is “packing heat” consistent with a Christian witness? I think the most exemplary witnesses of the church – the martyrs – would say, “No.” Continue reading “Gun Control: Should A Christian Carry?”

I am Not a Gun-Virgin (and Other Responses to my Critics)

Like everyone, I sometimes get into tit-for-tats online, but on those rare occasions in which I am being the better version of myself, I keep in mind that online discussions tend to generate more heat than light. The nastier the critics, the less likely they are to change their minds, and the more frustrated I am going to feel. So it is best to stay out of it.

But yesterday I received a “pingback” that led me to a couple of rather civil criticisms (here and here) of my latest piece in the Huffington Post. So I wanted to offer a brief response to a few points the authors make, which I have also seen reflected in other comments on my article. Perhaps this can be one of those rare internet moments when dialogue leads to mutual understanding. Continue reading “I am Not a Gun-Virgin (and Other Responses to my Critics)”

Polycarp, Ignatius, and the NRA

The martyrs have been on my mind lately. The other morning I turned to the letter St. Ignatius wrote to the church in Rome, before he was executed. I read the following words,

I am corresponding with all the churches and bidding them all to realize that I am voluntarily dying for God – if, that is, you do not interfere. I plead with you, do not do me an unseasonable kindness. Let me be fodder for wild beasts–that is how I can get to God. I am God’s wheat and I am being ground by the teeth of wild beasts to make a pure loaf for Christ. I would rather that you fawn on the beasts so that they may be my tomb and no scrap of my body be left. Thus, when I have fallen asleep, I shall be a burden to no one. Then I shall be a real disciple of Jesus Christ when the world sees my body no more. Pray Christ for me that by these means I may become God’s sacrifice.

The early Christians understood martyrdom to be a privilege. Continue reading “Polycarp, Ignatius, and the NRA”

A Teacher’s Opinion about Arming Teachers: A Guest Post by Brooke Edwards



Brook Edwards is a high school friend of my sister, but I have gotten to know her a bit better over the years. We have a shared love of teaching, and I have found her insights into practical, pedagogical, and policy issues to be full of wisdom. In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, politicians and policy wonks have been talking about arming teachers. I thought maybe they should listen to a teacher’s opinion first. Brooke is dealing with a difficult family situation at the moment, and I am grateful to her for taking the time to share her experiences with us. – David J.



Sandy Hook Memorial (via Wikimedia Commons)
Sandy Hook Memorial (via Wikimedia Commons)

I taught in the inner city for four years, and the talk of arming teachers inside of the classroom got me thinking about if I would prefer to teach with a gun strapped to my hip or not. My first thought was, “Yes! Of course I would want a gun!” I was raised to believe that an armed society was a polite society and that guns helped otherwise unsavory people have better manners.

I taught social studies in one of the most dangerous school systems in America. Every year we competed with Detroit and Washington D.C. for the ignominy of having the highest crime rate in the country. Continue reading “A Teacher’s Opinion about Arming Teachers: A Guest Post by Brooke Edwards