Jun 29, 2009

On Guns and Jesus

Left: Guns and salvation

I did a double-take when I passed the sign at Northwest Baptist Church that advertised a "Right to Keep and Bear Arms Rally" at the church. Now, as a supporter of the Second Amendment, I have no problem with people in a violent society making informed decisions on how to best protect themselves and their families, but I found a bit odd the idea that a church would so strongly weigh in on a political issue that seems at odds with Christ's teachings.

At first I thought this might be a mistake on my part, so I called the church and a friendly woman verified to me that, indeed, the purpose of the rally was to validate the Biblical basis for gun ownership. The church's special events page also offered more information that confirmed the nature of the night's rally.

In case the link changes, I saved a screenshot of the web page advertising the pro-gun rally at the church:

Left: screenshot of web page announcing the rally; click for larger image

The grounds outside the church were decorated with quite a few American flags that waved in the evening breeze. The flags served to highlight the theme of patriotism inherent in the rally, which claimed to examine if there was a "conflict between being a Patriot and being a Christian."

To my way of thinking these are completely separate issues, and I reject the notion that Christ would be fully supportive of the members of His church packing heat. In fact, I think He would be highly pissed that folks like Dr. Bryan Sharp would desecrate His church with political discussions of earthly violence, much like the moneychangers in the temple learned.

I suggest the following passages: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21) or the following admonition from Christ on the matter: "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:27-31).

I believe that Christ would be appalled at the idea that people like Dr. Sharp speak for Him, and that they would use His temple as a pulpit to promote violence, even violence in self-defense. Should people also start packing their pistols for services when they attend Northwest Baptist Church? Does Jesus want the Sunday School teachers to include lessons on gun maintenance and target practice?

And this essay, mind you, comes from someone (me) who is both a Christian and a supporter of the Second Amendment, so any trolls doing a virtual drive-by better not start throwing the "socialist" label around. Otherwise, I'll get my closeted, ultra-secret hammer-and-sickle Communist Conspiracy membership card out and smite you.


Mr. Puggle said...

hahahhahah! funny post. love the last few lines.

i served in the military so i am way patriotic and pro guns. however, Jesus said, "Put down the sword."

Be as wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove.

peace brother

microdot said...

This only proves to me more succinctly that the concept of "What God Is" is totally dependant upon what each group wants him to be.

Mesmerix said...

I was listening to the radio a few months ago when I remember a report discussing this very issue. The report focused on a church that was sponsoring a "bring your gun to church" day. No, I'm not joking. The idea was that the congregation could bring in their guns, some guy at the door would check to make sure they were unloaded, and they would have an after-service gun show... or at least, I assume that was the plan and not some militia-esque coup on their local government.

Anyways, I thought it was just a deep south sort of thing. Apparently though, it's come all the way to Toledo. I'm all for Jesus, and I'm all for guns, I just don't think the two of them mix really well.

steve said...

I think the evangelical Christian church has abandoned Christ and has regressed back to a primitive Judaism. They are manning the walls of a figurative Masada waiting for the legions to over run;

vs carrying out Christs commission of "Love they Neighbor", "Help the poor", "Preach the good news". No wonder the church is in decline.

dr-exmedic said...

It's all in what you want to cherry-pick, e.g. "if you have no sword, sell your cloak and buy one'" (Luke 22:36) which seem to very much argue in favor of being armed. (There is actually a whole string of quotes supporting each side--so you can interpret whatever you like however you like--but this is one I was able to come up with quickly on this side.)

kooz said...

Actually Mr. Puggle...Jesus never said put down the sword. In fact, in Matthew 10:34 He said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.

So, as a Christian and supporter of second amendment rights...I too agree with History Mike that I was taken aback by NW Baptists event. However, I cannot stand back and watch people like you misquote Jesus and promote this innacurate post-modern American politically correct Jesus who is all love and no judgement.