In his May 13 Point of View, the Rev. Mark Creech made a number of good points about the N.C. House’s recent vote to lift the 145-year-old ban on Sunday hunting with firearms. Church attenders do tend to experience more stable family lives, fewer out-of-wedlock births, fewer abortions, less crime and more positive health outcomes. But will removing the ban on Sunday hunting with firearms change any of those facts? That’s doubtful. Especially when you consider that North Carolinian archers and falconers are already allowed to spend their Sundays hunting on private lands. Are they somehow less devout than the others?
Not according to Gallup. In a 2014 Gallup poll, North Carolina was among the top 10 states in church attendance. Yet North Carolina is the only state in the top 10 that bans Sunday hunting with firearms. Furthermore, three states that fall within the bottom 10 fully prohibit hunting on Sundays. According to Rev. Creech’s argument, those three states should be battling North Carolina for a spot in the top 10 as ferociously as the Tar Heels battle the Blue Devils on the college hardwood.
I understand why he makes these arguments. In the days when kids are distracted by Facebook as Dad follows fantasy football teams and Mom texts with friends, there are more distractions than ever. The church is constantly battling ESPN, The Daily Show and Twitter for attention. But those who celebrate their faith through Sunday service will always find time for the Lord. His teachings and words are to be honored. But when and how that honor is bestowed is up to the individual. Temples, mosques, churches and monasteries are open more often than Sunday. Services start as early as 8 a.m. and can go as late as 7 p.m. So if a hunter skips an early morning service while waiting to bag a deer, there will still be time to worship with family and friends later in the day.
I hope the pews are full on the Sabbath. I hope Sunday school classes and church parking lots are filled to the brim. I hope Creech has a full congregation that celebrates his words and shares his revelations from this Sunday’s sermon. But I also hope he doesn’t think less of us who spend our Sunday mornings in the woods if the hunting with firearms ban is lifted. My devotion to God is not so fragile that a few hours in the field will break it. And using a gun instead of an arrow to put food on my family’s table isn’t going to alter my belief in God one bit, either. Of that I have no doubt. How can I make such a claim? Because I have faith!
David G. Robinson
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the Point of View.