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One hundred people die from gun violence every day in the United States. Some fifty children and teens are shot. There are more than 40,000 gun-related deaths every year. Yet many Christians say gun violence shouldn’t be talked about in church.
In Collateral Damage, pastor and activist James E. Atwood issues an urgent call to action to Christians to work together to stop gun violence. An avid hunter for many years, Atwood enumerates the tragic and far-reaching costs that accrue in a country with more guns than people. Collateral damage includes a generalized fear and loss of trust. Suicides and homicides. Trauma for children in neighborhoods plagued by gun violence and in schools with frequent lockdown drills. A toxic machismo that shapes our boys and men in unhealthy ways. Economic costs that exceed $229 billion per year. Atwood also considers the deeper story of racism, inequality, and mass incarceration in which the conversation about gun violence is lodged.
Gun violence has been called the theological emergency of our time. The church has a moral and spiritual obligation to side with life against death. Will we rise to the occasion?
“James Atwood makes a compelling argument that the conversation about firearms is indeed a moral one—and that the status quo is unacceptable. We have turned weapons into idols, and this form of idolatry can only be countered by moral outrage. People of faith and all who want to leave a better world for their children should run to read this book.” —RABBI PETER S. BERG, SENIOR RABBI OF THE TEMPLE, ATLANTA
“I’ve read every one of James Atwood’s books. Gun violence is a public health crisis in our country and one of the most urgent moral issues of our time. James Atwood is a leading voice in the world when it comes to gun violence, and especially when it comes to the intersection of God and guns in America. Jim knows that we have both a gun problem and a heart problem, and he addresses both in this book. If you care about life, this is required reading. As Atwood will show you, it is impossible to be pro-life, pro-Jesus, and uncritically pro-guns.” —SHANE CLAIBORNE, ACTIVIST, AUTHOR, AND FOUNDER OF RED LETTER CHRISTIANS