Monday, October 05, 2015

Serious Christians Pack Heat. Seriously?

In the category of facepalm worthy statements by politicians there is this statement from the Lt. Governor of Tennessee:
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey responded to the mass shooting at an Oregon community college in a Facebook post Friday saying that “fellow Christians” should consider getting a handgun carry permit to protect themselves.
In his Facebook posting, Ramsey, who is also speaker of the Tennessee senate, said the recent spate of mass shootings around the nation is “truly troubling.
The Blountville Republican said, "whether the perpetrators are motivated by aggressive secularism, jihadist extremism or racial supremacy, their targets remain the same: Christians and defenders of the West."
"I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit," Ramsey wrote. "I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it. Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise."


I say this with the respect due a magistrate who is the Lieutenant Governor of one of these United States of America: that is one of the most theologically ignorant statements I have ever heard issuing from the mouth of a fellow Christian. I consider myself serious about my faith and while I own a number of firearms and I absolutely affirm that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right of citizens of this country to own personal firearms, I categorically deny that carrying a gun to protect yourself from whichever bad guy you are afraid of is a sign of Christian maturity. I also deny that Christians should be lumped in with "defenders of the West" as if defending Western civilization, a civilization that has generally been anti-Christian (no more or less so than Eastern civilization) is somehow the duty of "serious" Christians.

The latest mass shooting which seems to, according to early reports, indicate that an unhinged individual specifically targeted Christians has galvanized believers and intertwined the gun control debate with the faith of the victims. While our President hardly waited for the bodies to get cold before callously trying to use a tragedy to further his own political aims, it would be be nice if Christians didn't get down in the political mud with him on this question. Those who were Christians and were murdered because of that join the ranks of martyrs who died for their faith. We should grieve with and pray for their families but we shouldn't abandon a key teaching of Jesus in order to make a political point. I have a strong opinion on the right of Americans to own firearms and I categorically deny that making something illegal makes it less likely that criminals will engage in a certain behavior. That has nothing to do with how followers of Christ should think about and act toward those who make themselves our enemies.

Lt. Governor Ramsey says that Christians should arm themselves in order to be prepared to kill their enemies if the need arises. Jesus said that we should love our enemies and leave vengeance to the Lord. It should be a no-brainer which we should listen to. Unfortunately in America it is not as obvious as it ought to be.

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