The Cult of Christian Hunting and America’s Gun Problem | 21st Century Spirituality | Big Think
When your hollow bullet causes a prairie dog to explode on impact, that’s called a tap. The real prize, however, is a double tap. That’s when your single bullet kills both a mother and one of her babies. While watching Youtube videos of hunters gunning down these ground squirrels you’ll hear giddy men get schoolgirl fanatical when they score one of these exalted goals.
The recurring sentiment that ‘people kill people, not guns’ is one of the most treacherous and plainly false arguments being pushed by the NRA and its devoted legion. The connection between stricter gun control policies and low murder rates has been shown again and again. Yet facts have no place on the Right, where a large, strange contingent of men keep fierce allegiance to the cult of the gun: Christian hunters.
Christian hunting organizations—there are many, including Christian Deer Hunters, Christian Bowhunters and Christian Hunters and Anglers—use select biblical quotes to justify their hobby, often claiming that it is part of man’s earthly duty to fell any creature that cannot withstand the puncture of a Bushmaster. The divine dominion man has been granted here is, of course, arrogant: only a man would write that man is the creature whom god has chosen as his favorite. Yet when the fatal consequences of such a mindset result in mass shootings and domestic violence, the Christian Right throws up a smokescreen of invented liberal moral failings and supposed attacks on our ‘freedom.’
Having the highest murder rate by use of firearms in the developed world isn’t simply a moral failing, nor does it have anything to do with freedom. It’s the result of a wealthy gun lobby and its deranged troops that uses scripture to justify the fact that they like to kill things. And in America, we like to kill things: 80% of gun deaths in the most developed 23 countries occur here, as well as 87% of all kid deaths.
Equally important to the pockets of the gun lobby is the psychology behind hunting, which traces back at least 50,000 years to the Upper Paleolithic era. Throughout our history, human and animal sacrifice were intertwined. Killing humans to appease the gods—for bountiful harvest, victory in war, better weather conditions, and to fend off offensive spiritual beliefs—was truly a global phenomenon. The Bible, one of the most violent books ever written undercover of being a religious text, champions the ultimate human sacrifice. This archaic psychology lingers today in American hunting culture.