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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

In Debate Over Gun Control and Mental Health, Evangelicals Diverge From Rest of Nation

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 Dec 19
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In the wake of last week's massacre of 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary, two main subjects of debate have emerged regarding how to prevent future tragedies: better gun control versus better treatment of mental illness. Both sides have vocal advocates, and a recent survey of attitudes toward gun control suggests where evangelicals and other religious groups stand on the issue, Christianity Today reports. The August survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Religion News Service posed the question: "What do you think is the most important thing that could be done to prevent mass shootings from occurring in the United States?" Only 8 percent of white evangelicals said "stricter gun control laws and enforcement," whereas 19 percent said "better mental health screening and support." Thirty-six percent chose a third option: "Put more emphasis on God and morality in school and society." Meanwhile, 41 percent of minority Christians favor focusing on gun control whereas 20 percent favor focusing on mental health and only 14 percent favor focusing on God and morality. By comparison, 27 percent of all Americans favor focusing on gun control, 22 percent favor focusing on mental health and 20 percent favor focusing on God and morality. Catholics and the religiously unaffiliated favor focusing on gun control, whereas mainline Protestants favor focusing on mental health.