Clinging to Your Bible and Your Gun

In the wake of Friday’s post, I received tweets, emails and messages from Libertarians and Fundamentalists letting me know that what I had to say was “intolerant hate speech”. They wanted me to know that it isn’t very Christ-like of me to say that some people who aren’t following Christ’s most mentioned command are not Christians. So, before I get into this week’s blog I have two things to say to all my readers on the Religious Right:
First off, it isn’t intolerant hate speech to speak the absolute truth. You can not claim to be a Christian and then reject Christ’s teachings. Second, Christ spent his entire ministry calling out people who weren’t acting right. Calling out modern-day Pharisees is the most Christ-like action I can do that doesn’t involve being crucified. I’m not sorry that it hurts your feelings to have someone call you on your failings; Sometimes, feelings need to be hurt in order to make you realize that your actions are harmful to those around you and that you need to change in order to get closer to what Christ taught.
Now that I’ve said all that, I’m going to insult the Right even more: You cannot be pro-gun and claim to follow Christ’s teachings.
God, Guns & the Bible

Now, when I say “pro-gun” I’m not talking about keeping a gun in your house in a gun safe in case of a home invasion. I’m also not talking about people who like to go to gun ranges every once in a while because there is something pleasurable about firing a powerful weapon at wooden targets. I’m talking about the crazy anti-government crowd who, as President Obama aptly put it, “cling to guns or religion.” These are the people who have a stockpile of weapons and are just waiting for the government to come knocking so that they can rack up a body count before ultimately being taken down.

Google “Bibles and Guns” and you will find pages and pages of pictures like the one to the right. There is this bizarre idea from the Religious Right that you can be a practicing, loving Christian and still be ready to shoot anyone who encroaches on your personal space. These “Christians” want the entire country to be armed to the teeth at all times, carrying gun into bars, schools and government buildings on the chance that a criminal will walk in and they will have the chance to be the hero. As pretty much every person in Western society has heard, in Matthew 26:52, Christ says quite clearly “Those who use the sword die by the sword.” I have never understood how it is that someone can claim to be a Christian and then gloss over this verse. However, I think the clearest proof that being Pro-Gun is Anti-Christian is Matthew 5:39:

But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

Can that be more clear? If you are a biblical literalist (like all Fundamentalists are), explain to me how it is that you can ignore a command Christ directly gave you, because I have thought for a long time about it and I can’t come up with a single excuse.
The worst part of all of this is that if it wasn’t for all the Religious Right gun advocates out there, we might still have the Assault Weapons ban in place. If you look at the mass shootings that have occurred since 1994, there is no change in shootings for the first few years, then they start to decrease, getting as low as 1 killing a year for the first half of Bush’s presidency. Then, in 2004 the ban is lifted. The mass murders triple immediately and get as high as 7 mass murders in 2012.
I’m not saying that it is 100% the Religious Right that has led to the gun culture that we have today; a lot of that blame goes to the NRA and those who produce these guns for getting conspiracy theorists all worked up and angry at the government, immigrants, Muslims, or any other group that is different than you. However, I truly believe that if Christians had stood for Christ’s teachings of non-violence and respect for authority then we might be in a different America. We might be in an America where we don’t have an average of 10,000 gun deaths a year. We might be in an America where we don’t have more gun deaths than the next 10 developed countries.
Perhaps, if Christians were actually standing for the teachings of Christ, we might have an America full of people that look more like Christ.
As a progressive Christian in America, Tristan became frustrated at how the christian political perspective had been completely monopolized by the Religious Right. He triesto be a counterweight to the Right’s argument that liberalism and Christianity are not compatible, specifically on the subjects of LGBT rights, women’s rights, gun rights and rights of the poor and disabled.You can view Tristan’s website at http://jesuswasalefty.blogspot.com/ and follow him on twitter @JesusWasALefty.

[Originally published at Jesus was a Liberal on April 15, 2013]

Peacock Panache is a news analysis blog focused primarily on civil rights, LGBTQ activism, church/state & atheism issues, women’s rights, and politics.

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