No Excuses: Guns and Faith


We’ve arrived! My husband and I have taken a road trip, and the first part of our agenda is attending the Couples for Liberty five-day workshop at Hillsdale College—lessons on shooting guns and on understanding the Constitution. We originally signed up for the workshop in May, but we had court dates assigned for the same time and we had to be there. But we found out there were two slots open for Hillsdale’s September workshop. They let us make the switch, and we were delighted–

–until a few weeks ago I realized that Yom Kippur fell during the same week. (I thought I also had a conflict with Rosh Hashanah, but there wasn’t a scheduling problem.)

Many of you know that I have returned to Judaism after practicing Buddhism for 20 years. I’m not an observant Jew, but I’ve tried to observe many of the holidays and adopt the mitzvahs as a recommitment to my faith and to G-d. And now I had a conflict with one of the most important holy days of the year.

I was deeply conflicted about this problem. My husband isn’t Jewish and it wouldn’t have been fair to cancel the workshop. If he weren’t involved, would I have canceled? Honestly? Probably not.

Ignoring this error was not in my nature; “responsible” is my middle name. I wanted a way to work with this situation that had at least some integrity. Since I was not going to cancel, what could I do?

Mrs. iWe encouraged me to work with the situation as best I could. My Torah study partner told me I should forget about guilt; we’re supposed to be happy this time of year. I also figured that G-d would not be impressed with my guilt, since it was a meaningless gesture.

Acknowledging that I was compromising my priorities was important to me. I will not make excuses. I made my choices and it was clear that beating myself up, rationalizing my decision or ignoring the situation was not acceptable.

I thought about how I could bring meaning to Yom Kippur so that this time of year to acknowledge my sins and ask for forgiveness would not be lost. So I contacted Hillsdale College.

Now some of you are thinking, Seriously? Hillsdale is a Christian College. Ah, but it is also conservative in its values. So I took the chance that somewhere nearby, some type of Yom Kippur service would be held.

I was correct.

A student and visiting professor have organized a service. At this moment, I have contacted them by voicemail and email, and am waiting to hear the specifics. I am prepared to give up some workshop time to pray with others. I don’t know what G-d will think, but at least I’m not making excuses.

I’ll let you know how it went.

There are 12 comments.

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  1. Percival Thatcher

    G’mar Hatima Tova, Susan.

    (Boy, I hope that was right.)

    • #1
  2. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum

    Peace and Blessings, SQ:  Btw, freedom of/*for* worship is part of the Bill of Rights, isn’t it?  You’re on solid ground…G’mar Chatima Tova!

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    @percival and @nandapanjandrum, thank you both, for your loving comments.

    • #3
  4. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards

    You can shoot on an empty stomach and maybe go with the goat target on that day.



    • #4
  5. Rodin Member

    @susanquinn, your post brought to mind the words of Paul

    And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.     (Letter to the Romans, Chapter 8, verse 28)

    • #5
  6. Mim526 Member

    Enjoying Hillsdale College and freely observing your faith…does it get much better than that for a conservative? :-)

    I’ll second @percival and @nandapanjandrum by wishing you a healthy peaceful and fulfilling year, @susanquinn.  (Sadly, I am so lacking in knowledge I had to fire up the old to look up G’mar Chatima Tova…but then again, that’s what it’s there for, right? :-)  Long live!  Or at least long enough to put Google meshuganahs out of search engine business (even sadder, that word I did not have to look up on

    • #6
  7. WI Con Member
    WI Con

    Do you have a sister or are willing to be cloned?

    • #7
  8. Concretevol Thatcher

    Susan I don’t know much about Jewish holidays, what I do know is that  I suspect @sonofspengler makes them up to have  more days off work…..but I digress.  I do believe that God will be more impressed by your commitment to doing the best you can in the situation rather than disregarding your faith entirely in order to attend.  

    Now, tell me more about this conference!  Guns and the Constitution???  

    • #8
  9. Suspira Member

    Susan Quinn: lessons on shooting guns and on understanding the Constitution

    You have to love that combination.

    • #9
  10. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt

    Firearms are tools of civilization.

    Thank you for the excellent post, and thanks to Hillsdale for this most appropriate event.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Concretevol (View Comment):

    Susan I don’t know much about Jewish holidays, what I do know is that I suspect @sonofspengler makes them up to have more days off work…..but I digress. I do believe that God will be more impressed by your commitment to doing the best you can in the situation rather than disregarding your faith entirely in order to attend.

    Now, tell me more about this conference! Guns and the Constitution???

    Thanks, @concreteovol. Only one day on this one. I’ll post on the overall experience –which has been wonderful.

    • #11
  12. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu


    גמר חתימה טובה

    G’mar hatima tova!






    • #12

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