Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Jesus and the NRA

This one is rich: Jesus wouldn’t join the NRA, by Abigail Disney.  The entire commentary belongs in the realm of other Disney scripts – perhaps a new chapter for Alice in Wonderland.

Right now, white evangelical Protestants are the group most likely to oppose stricter gun- control laws. They stand out as one of the few constituencies where a strong pro-life identity is tied to attitudes against any restrictions on gun ownership. Evangelicals are also one of the strongest constituencies of support for the National Rifle Association.

I think criminals are “the group most likely to oppose stricter gun-control laws”…well, actually, they will just ignore them.

But back to the question that allows one to pretend there is some deep philosophical and moral thinking behind it: What would Jesus do?  One more time we are subject to ignorant speculation on Jesus’ views on some question of the day. 

As recently as the Korean War in the early 1950s and the Vietnam War in the 1960s, many evangelicals said they were pacifists and registered as conscientious objectors.

Because, you know, there is no difference between self-defense and the murder of others who never posed a risk to you.

Abigail found a know-nothing-about-the-Bible minister based in Washington, Rob Schenck, who “has begun asking whether pro-life Christians can also be pro-gun. In doing so, Schenck finds himself increasingly alone — way out on a political limb.”

This will take a little more unpacking.  Of course, self-defense does not mean the same thing as murder.

But what is this “pro-life Christian” nonsense.  Christians have been voting for pro-death politicians ever since there was such a thing as a so-called Christian vote.  Pro-death for foreign interventionism; pro-death for unborn babies; pro-death as criminal punishment.

Who is Rob Schenck?

Robert Lenard "Rob" Schenck (pronounced SHANK; born 1958) is a leading American Evangelical reverend to elected and appointed officials in Washington, DC. Serving as President of the Christian outreach ministry Faith and Action, Schenck is an ordained minister of the Evangelical Church Alliance and was elected its chairman in July 2012.

And what is “Faith and Action”?

Faith and Action in the Nation’s Capital is a Christian outreach organization ministering to top-level government officials. The organizational headquarters is located in Washington, D.C. across the street from the east façade of the United States Supreme Court.

Finally, the “Evangelical Church Alliance”?

The ECA International is an alliance of ministers serving throughout the world. The ministries of ECA members include, but are not limited to pastors, teachers, para church leaders, church executives, missionaries, evangelists, speakers, youth ministers, professors, military chaplains, and fire, industrial, hospice, police, and prison chaplains.

Whatever Schenck is, I know what this minister-on-the-doorstep-of-Washington is not: he most certainly is not “…way out on a political limb.”  It would be a career-ending move.

But back to recruiting Jesus for the cause: it is with this pro-death group of Evangelical Christians where Abigail finds some hope – a swing vote to ensure universal background checks for gun buyers:

If even a small percentage of those who claim a dynamic association with the life and teaching of the Jesus Christ who gave us the Sermon on the Mount start talking about the contradictory language and ethics of evangelicals and the NRA, a powerful shift could occur.

Christians in the United States living in accord with the Sermon on the Mount?  Don’t make me laugh.  Yet even if they do live in accord with this creed, what does it have to do with Jesus and self-defense or gun registration? 

Now for some libel (for Abigail) and slander (for Rob):

“I’m concerned about the NRA promoting the idea that the best way to solve the most vexing problems in our society is to be prepared to shoot people dead,” Schenck said at a meeting of the Evangelical Church Alliance.

Look, I know that the NRA is not the staunchest supporter of unfettered gun rights, but still…does the NRA suggest that shooting people dead is the best way to solve society’s most vexing problems?  Really?

Finally, I know you will be surprised to find a Christian minister ignorant of the Bible that he preaches:

As Schenck demonstrates in the film, if evangelicals can come together in open dialogue, fully informed by the Bible in which they believe, many might well conclude that the logic of unfettered gun rights is incompatible with a life dedicated to following the example of the Prince of Peace.

Many might conclude this, but not the aforementioned “Prince of Peace”:

John 18: 1 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.  2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. 

4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”  5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.  “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”  “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.  8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”

10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Is it possible Jesus didn’t know that Peter carried a sword?  Not much of a Son of God if true.  Did Jesus ask Peter if the sword was registered with the Roman guard?  No.  Did He ask Peter to throw the sword into a river?  No; he said put it away.

Peter’s “sword rights” were both “unfettered” and otherwise unquestioned by Jesus.  Jesus’ recognized that a means of defense is necessary.  He stopped Peter because He knew that this time was not the time for the sword; His Father had a specific purpose in mind.

Abigail makes so many mistakes in one compact package: Christians aren’t pro-life, that’s one mistake.  Jesus wasn’t for his disciples to walk around like chickens for plucking, that’s a second mistake.  Self-defense isn’t the same as murder, that’s three mistakes.

Yet there is more.  Abigail’s biggest mistake: assuming that a Christian minister who makes his living bowing to the biggest murderers on the planet knows anything about (or would actually preach anything from) the Bible.


  1. I can't help but notice you writing this as it it is a given that guns kill. I don't mean in the sense of disputing "guns don't kill, people do." I mean in the sense that getting shot is necessarily fatal, which is a general assumption of the anti-gun hysterical crowd.

    The argument that a little old lady trained with a gun can actually defend herself better than one without, and still not necessarily kill the assailant, seems to fall on deaf ears.

    I wonder if privately owned guns even have a higher per capita kill rate than cars.

  2. So it's unChristian for us uppity mundanes to have guns to protect ourselves and form organizations to protect our right to have them?

    When is she going to write an article about how "Jesus wouldn't join the police force" or any other federal ABC agencies in which the agents have given guns and the authority to kill people who resist?

    Meanwhile, I'm still trying to find that section of the Gospel where Jesus and the disciples set up camp in Rome right next across from the Senate. Perhaps it's right next to the story of how he entered the temple under the belief that the best way to solve the most vexing problems in his society was to be prepared to beat people with a hand-made whip and overthrow their money tables.

    Maybe Jesus wouldn't have told people to join the NRA, but he would have said if you don't have a gun, "sell your coat and buy one. "

    1. In the one Gospel (John) that a whip is used (three did not), did He strike a person?

    2. While the scripture doesn't say whether he actually struck anyone, he did make a whip and drive the money changers out. He overturned their tables. He poured their money out on the floor.
      Driving someone out, implies, at least, that the money changers were made to believe they were going to be whipped. Other wise why would they leave? They feared him.
      Rightfully so.
      I have always seen this scripture as a biblical reference to the right to protect your property.
      His anger is that his Fathers house was being abused, so he protected his property.
      So, since only John points out the fact that he made a whip, are we to be suspicious of John's account, which is what is inferred with your remark, otherwise why point to it? If so, we should throw out his whole account of the life of Christ.

    3. HI Joshua, in 1/4 accounts He has a whip to drive out those making a market out of the temple. The other three he does not have a whip. He does not strike a person in any of the 4 accounts. No where do the apostles use this story as support for violence or as an excuse to protect what they own. There are also no examples of your usage for the first three centuries of Christianity. Perhaps it means something else? His authority over the temple? These tables were there because the High Priest was making money off of them. Would this show Him as having more authority than the HP? There are many messages i these stories that are historically supported. Why isn't yours?

  3. I enjoy your blog Bionic and use it as a reference often for our home schooling. Your research is very good. During your research, did you find an example of any of the apostles using self defense or examples in the first 3 centuries of Christians using violence in self defense?

    1. Of course he does. Jesus instructed his apostles to get the sword in question. Then, when Peter used it, He disarmed him. When did Peter ever go against that last order? Stephen? Paul? The Acts of the Apostles should be full of justified self defense as the followers of Jesus were subject to many instances of unjust violence.
      Any examples for the following 3 centuries?

  4. And Peter wasn't told to put up his sword for now...was he? The rest of the story sums up His life and teaching. Agape (not eros) love and not the sword is how His followers will change the world.
    I'd love to read your list of instances of Christian justified violence for the first three centuries. God Bless and success in your efforts to educate.

  5. As to whether a person should have a gun or not have a gun, it seems that Jesus believed in the NSA/NRA (National Sword Association) of his day, for It is clear that he not only thought having a "sword" was okay but he advised everyone to do whatever they had to and get money and buy one.
    Luke 22:36 - "Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one"

    What a person does with it once they have it is a WHOLE different discussion and the two issues shouldn't get mixed together and confused.

    1. Keep reading Luke...thru 38. The scene, if read in its entirety gives a different picture.

    2. Sam, in reading the rest we see Christ saying that the 2 swords are enough, and reading before this we can reason that he meant that the 2 swords were enough to fulfill scripture with His arrest and crucifixion.

      I think, or should I say, I assume, I know where you are coming from with these points, and I have no doubt you can give a very reasonable argument backed by scripture to make your argument.
      I have respect for this belief.

      I also believe Christ is the Prince of Peace.

      But I also read that there are instances where we, even as believers, have the right, or even the command to defend ourselves and others.
      Especially ones family.
      Merely asking "where did it happen that you can find in the first 300 years of the church" doesn't really prove anything.

    3. Sam, do you assume that 1 Timothy 5:8, the command only refers to food and clothing?
      Would it not also mean protection?
      If your daughter is being raped, and you have the means to stop it, even violent means, even to kill with a gun, wouldnt that fall in the category of "provision"?
      Or do you think God would have you stand by so He could exact His vengeance?

    4. Joshua, if there are no examples of self defense in the NT, but there are many instances where we should expect it then we can learn from that. He taught a way of nonviolent love of friends and enemies. His apostles lived that way and so did Christians for 3 centuries and states so quite emphatically. Your version of Christianity didn't show up until after Constantine.

      1Tim5:8, as the rest of the letter covers, refers to many things to include religious training. Nowhere does it mention violence.

      I recommend that you research the early church and what happened to Christians. How did we respond? We Christians have so little true belief that He really is the Christ that we are willing to reject His teachings when death or suffering are at hand. Why didn't He or his apostles, or his early church?

  6. Sam, I apologize for small snippets.
    I have looked into this, a long time ago and still question my reason to this day.
    I want to also point out Paul, If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. - Romans 12:18
    Yes I have read Romans, all of it.
    But reading Romans 12 before and after verse 18, doesn't negate verse 18.
    Thanks for your time.

    1. Then how do you explain away the very next line? "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God..." The entire rest of that paragraph tells us to do good to those who do evil, not to use violence. The last sentence states "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." If you are willing to take one sentence out of a letter and draw conclusions that contradict the rest of the letter what do you have?

  7. You left out my personal favorite:

    Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. - Luke 22:36