The Common Good

Catholic Church of the Beatitudes: Ever Hear of ‘Gun Idolatry’?

Source: Noozhawk
Date: January 21, 2013

Shortly after the Dec. 15, 2012, massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., I began to notice the appearance of the intriguing phrase “gun idolatry” in the media. Jim Wallis used it in his God’s Politics blog on Sojourners online (Dec. 17, 2012).

A quick Google search of “gun idolatry” as a phrase (on Dec. 20) brought up about 1,170 occurrences of the concept; today, there are hundreds more — Internet blogs and editorials that challenge us to think about how our culture elevates guns to “divine right” status.

If you are like me, you probably had not previously thought much about idolatry in relation to guns. Curious about when the concepts first were linked, I did a Google “advanced search,” this time limiting the date to pre-December 2004. It suggests that the first published occurrence of “gun idolatry” as a phrase was in an editorial by Gordon Matties in Vision: A Journal of Church and Theology (June 15, 2004, online at It’s not surprising that the Mennonite Church, known for its espousal of pacifism, would host and be leading a discussion of this topic