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An Open Letter to the Clergy and Members of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church
by William B. Rogers, MD

I write to you with greetings in Christ, but with deep concern for the anti-gun (anti-self defense, anti-Constitution) bias announced at this year’s conference. I am especially dismayed that such a public statement was made in the name of United Methodism without a consultation with the members of the local churches. Certainly no vote was taken among the members of my home church to authorize the annual conference to support such a position, let alone to author it!

The topic of "gun control" is of great interest to me and my fellow physicians. Public debate on the subject has been very one sided according to the anti-gun rhetoric streaming out of several medical organizations lately. As a man of science, I have begun to wonder what some of my fellow physicians have done with their own scientific training. I have wondered why the large, lobby-oriented, medical organizations have, like the UMC, made unilateral decisions among the "leadership" (should that not be "servantship?") to call for registration of firearms (and firearms owners) and the insistence upon such "safety" devices as trigger locks, lock boxes, etc. that are not at all proven to be of value, and that may have "unintended consequences" the like of which have not been dispassionately considered and which may be very destructive to life, limb, property, and sovereignty of nation.

Why we have not had energized public debate presenting both sides of the argument for the right to keep and bear arms? Why do we not insist on data-driven policy decisions? I have concluded that the reason for a lack of public scrutiny and honest debate is the same for our professional medical organizations as it is for the Church, our law enforcement agencies, and the body politic: We are caught up in an era of political expediency driven by an amazing lack of courage!

In my view, "political expediency" is very much beneath the Body of Christ. It has preceded some of the darkest moments in the history of the Church. As for a "lack of courage," Rev. Smith, neither you nor I were born again unto a spirit of Fear. Our decisions must never be dictated by such a spirit that aggravates us but that has no authority over us.

Let me offer some material (conveniently available on the world wide web) for your perusal:

A very concise review of several studies germane to the community and individual safety of firearms is found in the March 1994 Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia, Volume 83, beginning on page 133. "Guns in the Medical Literature - a Failure of Peer Review" by Dr. Edgar Suter explores the many distortions and outright fabrications that are accepted as fact - not only by the public, but by many physicians and their lobbying organizations. He illustrates how even research by

non-gun-owners and liberal sociologists like Gary Kleck shows the clear

danger to our communities posed by much of the feel-good gun control concepts endorsed by medical lobbying groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and others. Suter's thoroughly referenced article can be found on the internet at:

An even more detailed analysis appears in the Tennessee Law Review Volume 62 (3) Spring 1995 issue by Kates et al. entitled "Guns and Public Health: Epidemic of Violence, or Pandemic of Propaganda." The Law Librarian, Micki Fox (at phone no. 615-974-4464) will, for 13 dollars, provide copies of the entire 350-page issue. This well-referenced symposium of articles demonstrates what the world of science really knows about gun laws and their effects on community stability. The report clearly details to what extent the so-called 'facts' which are used to justify proposed public policy on firearms are distorted and fabricated, often at taxpayer's expense.

Kates' article is also on the internet at: (requires Adobe reader)

Anyone with a sincere interest in reducing gun violence needs to read both of these articles. The especially sincere, and those who will engage in the public debate, will want to research the many references offered in both articles.

Every thinking person knows that guns are not in and of themselves a threat to our safety. There are tens of thousands of lives saved each year by the judicious, appropriate, and completely legal use of private firearms. There are many physicians today ( NOT being heard in the news releases of their organizations) who have studied the empirically valid data and who know that our public safety is much more threatened by some of the proposed "gun control legislation" than it is by the private ownership of firearms. Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a subsidiary of the Claremont Institute with a website at:, is one of several groups of physicians who espouse a duty to protect the public health, regardless of how politically incorrect a defense of the right to keep and bear arms may seem to the uninformed.

One of the very best information resources, and a web site of which I am a member of the Board of Directors, is Keep and Bear at I suspect you might be particularly interested in our Media Bias information showing clearly how the public opinion is being swayed by use of less than honest tactics.

Physicians, PhDs and other doctorate level professionals have been working for weeks to open a page on that will allow people to ask questions, make comments, and in general become more informed about the true facts of so called "gun control." I'm at the helm of that project and I would be delighted to discuss it further with you or any doctors that you would refer to me at

I think that we United Methodists, our pastors, and our Church leaders (read: servants) need to be considerably more informed before we, the Ambassadors of Christ, are lured once again into the clutches of those among us who would enslave the rest with a grab for political power made, as it has been throughout history, in the name of "security and safety."

As for your current position, and the direction of your pulpit, I can think of no better words than those given to Sir Thomas Moore by the author Robert Bolt in his play "A Man for All Seasons":

"I beseech you in Christ, consider that you may be wrong."

I am, Most sincerely,
William B. Rogers, MD Tyler, TX

Printer Version

For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution. [Bliss vs. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822)

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