February 11, 2022
It is called the “boyfriend loophole.” Our law prohibits domestic abusers from having guns, but only if they have been married to, lived with, or had a child with the victim. It doesn’t prohibit an abusive dating partner from having a gun. This gap in the law is known as the “boyfriend loophole” and has become more and more deadly. The number of homicides committed by dating partners has been rising for three decades, and now women are as likely to be killed by boyfriends as by husbands.
On Wednesday, a bipartisan group announced they had finally reached a deal to renew the Violence Against Women Act, a landmark legislation that expired in 2018. The legislation, however, was unable to pass with a provision that would have closed this “boyfriend loophole.” The National Rifle Association strongly opposed it, threatening to crater the GOP support. And so, women’s lives have been supplanted again, this time by abusive boyfriend’s rights to bear arms.
As a little girl, I was told that I could be and do anything. I know now that that isn’t true. What I have experienced in 37 years could fill a book. And today, an adolescent victim of rape or incest would be unable to terminate a pregnancy in the state of Texas. What’s more, anyone who might try to help a girl in such distress could face prosecution. We live in one of the most progressive countries in the world, and yet, not one of our 46 presidents has been a woman. Women’s Rights, however, are not a political issue. They have to do with justice, equality, and yes, faith.
If we believe that each human being was indeed created in the image and likeness of God as we read in Genesis -- if we remember that Jesus touched, included, and upheld women -- then we know what our sacred calling here is. It is not to protect the rights of the abusive boyfriend to own a gun. Our call is to continue to protect the widow, the orphan, the persecuted, the alien, the abused.
Friends, I know you are tired. We have had so much pain laid at our own doorsteps these past two years that it’s hard to conjure up concern for the other. It is only through Love for the other, however, that we can ever lift ourselves out of darkness and build the kin-dom of God.