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« on: March 05, 2009, 11:30:41 AM »

Hello, I am new to the "community," so forgive me if I am not doing this correctly. I have a question regarding the Orthodox Christian stand on the 2nd Amendment and on gun ownership. Does the Church have an official stand with regards to the "Right to bear arms", spoken of in the 2nd amendment of the constitution? Does the Church have a stand on Orthodox Christians legally owning firearms, whether for hunting or for protection of home or businesses? Is there a restriction on clergy owning firearms? With all of the discussion out there on gun bans, and the correect interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, I am curious as to what our church has to say, if anything, on this issue.
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2009, 11:38:08 AM »

Hi Anektarios!

Welcome to the forum.

In regards to your question, I'm not aware of any official church teaching on Firearms or the second amendment (which would be a clear violation of the 1st amendment if there was). I would say that in general as an Orthodox or any other Christian who would hold a firearm they would need to be used either as a last resort (in defense) or for the meeting of basic necessity (hunting). With that I would say if someone is leveling a gun at you and your life is in danger, that is a mitigating circumstance, it doesn't of course excuse you from the 5th commandment, but it can be rationalized logically. With hunting I would say that if you're going out to just kill animals and leave them in the forest or killing for the sake of killing, there is a serious problem there, but if you go out for  a boar or turkey or chicken or deer for dinner or to share with family, I don't think the church would object. Just my $0.02 on the issue.

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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 01:07:43 PM »

The Orthodox love guns!

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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2009, 02:42:40 PM »

Hi Anektarios!

Welcome to the forum.

In regards to your question, I'm not aware of any official church teaching on Firearms or the second amendment (which would be a clear violation of the 1st amendment if there was).

The 1st amendment limits the state, not the Church.
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2009, 04:55:37 PM »

The Orthodox love guns!



Umm, Alveus, that picture is of an Italian church, which is most likely Roman Catholic.  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2009, 05:32:14 PM »

Hi Anektarios!

Welcome to the forum.

In regards to your question, I'm not aware of any official church teaching on Firearms or the second amendment (which would be a clear violation of the 1st amendment if there was).

The 1st amendment limits the state, not the Church.
Yes, good point. In fact, the Constitution itself was written to specifically enumerate the powers of the federal government and not the citizens, residents, businesses, organizations, etc. of the United States.

So the Church can teach whatever it wants about guns and gun ownership, and the federal government has no authority to limit that belief, because the First Amendment specifically prohibits it from doing so.

That said, I have heard that the Church does not allow anyone who has taken a human life to serve in any ordained position. I'm not sure if there is a Canon for that, as I've only heard it from laity. However, I know several Orthodox who own guns and hunt, among them my own priest, so there cannot be any prohibition (at least in the OCA) on hunting.
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2009, 06:43:10 PM »

I know several Orthodox who own guns and hunt, among them my own priest

What a different world the US is.
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2009, 06:58:39 PM »

Umm, Alveus, that picture is of an Italian church, which is most likely Roman Catholic.  Smiley

It's actually Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in Cargese, Corsica.   Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2009, 07:07:15 PM »

I know several Orthodox who own guns and hunt, among them my own priest

What a different world the US is.

Do you not like venison? Shocked
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2009, 09:52:16 AM »

I know several Orthodox who own guns and hunt, among them my own priest

What a different world the US is.

Not that different than, say, pictures of Serbian priests holding guns wearing bandoleers in WWII.
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2009, 10:00:32 AM »

I know several Orthodox who own guns and hunt, among them my own priest

What a different world the US is.
Wow. I didn't expect that to be shocking. But then, I live near a city which boasts the world's largest hunting and fishing supply store. It's pretty much a way of life around here.
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2009, 12:41:18 PM »


I personally don't own a firearm.
However, I am not anti-hunting, as long as the hunter knows what he is doing.  That means, he shoots to kill, not maim, and he eats what he kills, and doesn't just kill for the joy of killing.

Some people in my area, don't feel "safe" and therefore own handguns for personal protection.  I haven't gotten to that stage of fear, and don't feel the need.

However, I have a fellow Orthodox coworker, and just last week she was boasting that they are the proud owners of an AK-47 (gun #4 for the household) and she's worried that her nosey neighbors not report her to the authorities. 

I know where she lives.  It's a safe, quiet, suburban, well inhabited area.  It's not the inner city, and has a rather low crime rate.

When I asked why she felt the need to own one...I just got this blank stare, like I was crazy or something, so I didn't pursue the topic.

This type of thing, I cannot understand.  Why would you feel the need to own such a militaristic weapon?  I hope the U.S. stays safe enough and doesn't get invaded by some outside force, where we don't need this heavy duty weapon to safeguard our homes.


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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2009, 12:45:26 PM »

I know several Orthodox who own guns and hunt, among them my own priest

What a different world the US is.

Perhaps in Greece only bishops carry guns and that is the source of confusion?  

"The Greek backlash was orchestrated by the gun-toting bishop of Kastoria, Germanos Karavangelis.  This extraordinary figure, who roamed the countryside in a dark English raincoat with a black scarf wrapped around his priest's hat, 'had a Männlicher slung over his shoulder, a bandolier over the other, and a belt round his middle from which hung his holster carrying a large pistol and a knife.'  Karavangelis appeared consciously to cultivate an imagine of threatening romanticism.  The bishop considered Bulgarian influence in the region to be the greatest threat to Greek national interests.  He therefore advocated close friendship and cooperation between the Greeks and Turks of Macedonia, but only as an expedient..  Karavangelis  was fully aware that there was no religious aspect to the struggle between the Exarchate and the Patriarchate - he admitted openly that the only issue in Macedonia was the future contours of the Balkan states once the Turks had been thrown out."  From The Balkans by Misha Glenny, pg 206
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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2009, 04:39:11 PM »


I personally don't own a firearm.
However, I am not anti-hunting, as long as the hunter knows what he is doing.  That means, he shoots to kill, not maim, and he eats what he kills, and doesn't just kill for the joy of killing.

Some people in my area, don't feel "safe" and therefore own handguns for personal protection.  I haven't gotten to that stage of fear, and don't feel the need.

However, I have a fellow Orthodox coworker, and just last week she was boasting that they are the proud owners of an AK-47 (gun #4 for the household) and she's worried that her nosey neighbors not report her to the authorities. 

I know where she lives.  It's a safe, quiet, suburban, well inhabited area.  It's not the inner city, and has a rather low crime rate.

When I asked why she felt the need to own one...I just got this blank stare, like I was crazy or something, so I didn't pursue the topic.

This type of thing, I cannot understand.  Why would you feel the need to own such a militaristic weapon?  I hope the U.S. stays safe enough and doesn't get invaded by some outside force, where we don't need this heavy duty weapon to safeguard our homes.

If you are in the USA I doubt seriously that your friend owns a fully automatic Kalishnikov although with license even that is legal. Hence, her rifle is merely a fancy, altered single-round  expenditure device. I'd prefer the new AK-74 myself. But both are intimidating which is a weapon in itself. I worry more about being invaded by an "inside" force.  Wink
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« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2009, 05:13:09 PM »

I know several Orthodox who own guns and hunt, among them my own priest

What a different world the US is.

Not that different than, say, pictures of Serbian priests holding guns wearing bandoleers in WWII.

Or how about the prayer in the Great Book of Needs, over guns and other weapons, ON THE ALTAR TABLE!  that was always my personal favorite.   Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2009, 05:21:00 PM »

Not that different than, say, pictures of Serbian priests holding guns wearing bandoleers in WWII.

Or how about the prayer in the Great Book of Needs, over guns and other weapons, ON THE ALTAR TABLE!  that was always my personal favorite.   Smiley

I think you were the first one to ever show me that one... I'm still somewhere between "laughing hysterically" and "completely surprised" when I think about it.
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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2009, 05:43:20 PM »

Not that different than, say, pictures of Serbian priests holding guns wearing bandoleers in WWII.

Or how about the prayer in the Great Book of Needs, over guns and other weapons, ON THE ALTAR TABLE!  that was always my personal favorite.   Smiley

I think you were the first one to ever show me that one... I'm still somewhere between "laughing hysterically" and "completely surprised" when I think about it.

You know that they took it out of the books in 1991 right?  (Patriarch Pavle did that one)
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« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2009, 07:41:21 PM »

Perhaps in Greece
Whose talking about Greece?
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« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2009, 07:59:07 PM »

I know several Orthodox who own guns and hunt, among them my own priest

What a different world the US is.
Wow. I didn't expect that to be shocking. But then, I live near a city which boasts the world's largest hunting and fishing supply store. It's pretty much a way of life around here.

Hunting is not considered culturally respectable by most Australians. In recent years for example, the majority of States and Territories in Australia have banned duck hunting. Last week duck season opened in Tasmania and there were huge protests.:
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/tasmania-kicks-off-duck-hunting-20090305-8pdc.html
Fishing is viewed differently here, and is a well-loved and "respectable" pastime since the fish which are not eaten are kissed by the fisherman (as is our custom) and returned to the water.
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« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2009, 08:26:41 PM »

Fishing is viewed differently here, and is a well-loved and "respectable" pastime since the fish which are not eaten are kissed by the fisherman (as is our custom) and returned to the water.

ozgeorge, according to my Aussie friends, while there might be some Australians who catch, kiss, and release (the sorts who host TV fishing shows), this is only a tiny number. It is not a national "custom" by any means. The object of fishing the world over, is to catch fish to eat, not to play with and throw back. The only ones a decent fisherman throws back are those that are too small, are beyond his bag limit (the legal number of a species which can be caught per day) or which should not be eaten (noxious, poisonous, etc).
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« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2009, 08:40:35 PM »

The object of fishing the world over, is to catch fish to eat,
Uh huh. Which is what I said:
the fish which are not eaten

[aside] Tell me LBK, nothing I say lately is acceptable to you. Are you still smarting from this little spanking?:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18339.msg269648.html#msg269648 [/aside]
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« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2009, 09:55:54 PM »

The object of fishing the world over, is to catch fish to eat,
Uh huh. Which is what I said:
the fish which are not eaten

[aside] Tell me LBK, nothing I say lately is acceptable to you. Are you still smarting from this little spanking?:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18339.msg269648.html#msg269648 [/aside]

Spanking? Oh my, ozgeorge. I'm afraid I'm far too old and ugly to be insulted, even by folks like you. As we're on the topic of fishing (of which I do a lot), I've long learned to not "rise to the bait" in certain situations. Dispassion and silence work quite well, at least for me.
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« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2009, 10:08:33 PM »

Perhaps in Greece
Whose talking about Greece?

Whoops, I misspoke.  At that time that territory wasn't part of the Greek state, it was under our Ecumenical Patriarchate.   Kiss
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« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2009, 10:19:10 PM »

Perhaps in Greece
Whose talking about Greece?

Whoops, I misspoke.  At that time that territory wasn't part of the Greek state, it was under our Ecumenical Patriarchate.   Kiss
Cheesy

The object of fishing the world over, is to catch fish to eat,
Uh huh. Which is what I said:
the fish which are not eaten

[aside] Tell me LBK, nothing I say lately is acceptable to you. Are you still smarting from this little spanking?:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18339.msg269648.html#msg269648 [/aside]

Spanking? Oh my, ozgeorge. I'm afraid I'm far too old and ugly to be insulted, even by folks like you. As we're on the topic of fishing (of which I do a lot), I've long learned to not "rise to the bait" in certain situations. Dispassion and silence work quite well, at least for me.
I'm glad you've attained dispassion and hesychia.
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« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2009, 11:00:20 PM »

Hunting is not considered culturally respectable by most Australians. In recent years for example, the majority of States and Territories in Australia have banned duck hunting. Last week duck season opened in Tasmania and there were huge protests.:
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/tasmania-kicks-off-duck-hunting-20090305-8pdc.html
Fishing is viewed differently here, and is a well-loved and "respectable" pastime since the fish which are not eaten are kissed by the fisherman (as is our custom) and returned to the water.
Hmm. Interesting. Around here, hunting is viewed as a civil responsibility; it's a way to control the populations of certain animals. Licences are required and only certain practices are allowed (for example, fish must be caught with a pole, never a net or by hand), and limits are established to avoid overhunting. We want to see our native animals thrive, but we understand that they cannot do so if there are too many of a species. So hunting actually helps their quality of life. At least, that's how we see it.

And yes, there are those who hunt entirely too much for them to eat, and do so mainly for sport, wasting most of what they kill--but such behaviour is generally frowned upon in polite society. In addition, there are those of us who choose to forego the rather violent shotgun in favour of an old-fashioned recurve bow. Skill, rather than excessive firepower, delivers the most ethically slaughtered and best-tasting meat.
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« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2009, 11:58:44 PM »

Hmm. Interesting. Around here, hunting is viewed as a civil responsibility; it's a way to control the populations of certain animals.
We have a similar situation here with the culling of kangaroos. When the kangaroo population in an area is deemed to be "too high", a culling is declared (as it was last year in Belconnen) and a determined number are to be killed, but this has caused massive controversy in Australia. Firstly, more effective fencing would actually solve the problem, and secondly, Australia is an outspoken critic of Japanese Whaling in the Antarctic, so killing healthy animals was a PR disaster which damaged our credibility as critics of Japanese Whaling, especially when alternatives to the cull were available:
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=7414
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« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2009, 07:01:11 AM »

Here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hunting is BIG business for the state. It brings in huge bucks (no pun) to the treasury and hence is encouraged. Example: The state nets $50,000 per bear taken. (And poaching a bear will get one a $5000 fine, loss of driving license, loss of rifle, loss of vehicles used in hunt, maybe jail time, too). Wildlife management is part of this as well. Deer must be culled or else the state's agricultural output will suffer (and don't I know it losing 60% of my first attempted corn planting to the critters.) Yes, PA still has some natural deer predators- coyotes, but not enough. And they're considered a nuisance and hunted heavily for other reasons.
Then we have "no closed season - no limit" species...groundhogs. Marmots do tremendous damage to fields, and equipment, and people (surprise...step into a hole and risk a major ankle or leg break) and we've got thousands of these nasty animals.
I don't enjoy hearing my Pittsburgh neighbors firing off a Mak-10 pistol (seems every night in summer) but a good rifle or shotgun in country is a must. The first is already illegal in most cases, the second a necessity.

The second amendment is a right, pre-existing, guaranteed by the constitution (not granted by it). Like religion, if one doesn't want a firearm (or to worship), don't get one (or profess a religious belief).

So why is this a religious topic?
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« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2009, 02:08:00 PM »

Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take [it], and likewise [his] scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.  Luke 22:36

I am a Russian Orthodox Christian, and I have a Concealed Handgun Permit and carry a pistol regularly.  I have no problem with this, and neither does my Priest.  I do not hunt since I do not kill for pleasure.  I did hunt for food in my younger, poorer days and I have no apologies for this.  I pray daily that I am not put in a situation that forces me to use my pistol against another human being.  If I am forced into that situation, I am prepared and trained to deal with it.
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