On Thursday, Robert Siegel of NPR’s All Things Considered interviewed Dr. Richard Land on the issue of gun control and whether the Newtown school shootings had changed his position on it. Land, the director of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, had this to say:
SIEGEL: What’s the New Testament justification for owning firearms?
LAND: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love your neighbor as yourself. If you see your neighbor being attacked, if you see your neighbor in danger, you have an obligation and a responsibility to do what you can to protect them.
SIEGEL: Do you have an obligation to turn the other cheek?
LAND: I think I do, personally. But the difference between personal and defending others, you know, it’s the justification that’s used for soldiers and others and police officers, and I think for private citizens as well.
If I find that someone is trying to do harm to someone else, I believe that I have a moral and Christian obligation to do whatever I can – with the least amount of violence necessary – but if necessary, lethal violence to stop them from harming others. That’s loving my neighbor as myself. That’s doing unto others as I would have them do unto me.
[Listen to the entire interview or read the transcript here.]