Guns and God????

OK. I need your help here.

Today I read a news story at msnbc.msn.com/id/31111096/ that has been bugging me, and I simply can’t seem to put it into words… although I tried on my blog today at acts17verse28.blogspot.com/2009/06/guns-and-god.html#comments.

The story involves a pastor from an Assemblies of God church in Kentucky who’s inviting his congregation to carry guns into church as part of their July 4 celebration. There will be a handgun raffle and gun safety courses. His rationale is that, without religious faith and guns, we would not have our country and its freedoms.

Am I full of it? Is this appropriate?

Help?

OK. I need your help here.

Today I read a news story at msnbc.msn.com/id/31111096/ that has been bugging me, and I simply can’t seem to put it into words… although I tried on my blog today at acts17verse28.blogspot.com/2009/06/guns-and-god.html#comments.

The story involves a pastor from an Assemblies of God church in Kentucky who’s inviting his congregation to carry guns into church as part of their July 4 celebration. There will be a handgun raffle and gun safety courses. His rationale is that, without religious faith and guns, we would not have our country and its freedoms.

Am I full of it? Is this appropriate?

Help?

Grace & Peace!

I share your reservations. Here’s why–a conflation of transcendent values (religion) with transient ones (nation) in which the relative value of each is confused. In the late 19th century, the global surge in nationalisms (such as those leading to national socialism in Germany and elsewhere) was due in part to a sense that religion had nothing more to offer in terms of a locus for transcendent values. The nation and ideologies surrounding a concept of nationhood filled in the gap–the individual’s identity was entirely subsumed by their national identity. Many nationalistic movements even couched their propaganda in religious-sounding terms. One’s nation became one’s religion.

In America and in very conservative protestant communities in particular, a similar transformation has happened (though perhaps for different reasons). Nation and religion have been merged in a sort of hybrid nationalistic religiosity which no doubt comes from a hyper sense of American exceptionalism. The constitution becomes a sacred text. The political notion of freedom is confused with the spiritual notion of freedom. Spreading democracy becomes a missionary imperative. God and the State become joined at the hip, as it were. It’s rather distressing.

In such an environment, a secular holiday must necessarily become a religious holiday which must necessarily allow for demonstrations of fealty to a particular nationalistic or political ideal.

My two cents, at any rate.

Under the Mercy,
Mark

All is grace and mercy! Deo gratias!

Wow, Mark.
I was having such trouble articulating my feelings, and you not only did that - and well - but went a step beyond to where I’d probably gotten eventually under my own steam.

Thanks.

Well… without guns, intelligent wealthy white men, a dislike of unfair taxes, and the support of the French we would not have this country and it’s freedoms. I don’t think there is a connection between Guns and Religion [in modern America] beyond that statistically people that like one seem to like the other. I’m reminded of the saying that a gun carrying society is a polite society :wink:

Personally though, I think when someone seen as a leader starts endorsing weapons, it can be a sign of something bad even if no harm was meant. Think of Waco TX. I hope this pastor’s intentions are good and not disillusioned.

I think the pastor did not go far enough. Without the tobacco trade, there would not have been a lot on colonizing in America and in the Revolution we found that cannon worked a lot better at winning battles then muskets.

So the church could celebrate by parishoners lighting off 16 pounders and smoking seegars in the church parking lot. :wink:

Perhaps.

Actually, I disagree. In the philosophy on which the constitution and the declaration of independence were built (namely, John Locke) the rights of human beings can ONLY be from God. All rights are inherently property of the people. It is the government, then, that REMOVES rights, but does not grant them. As Locke says, every person has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of personal property. However, the inherent rights do not stop others from taking property, life, or liberty of an individual. As such, the reason nations are formed is for protection of GOD GIVEN rights, for which citizens in turn surrender or at least partially surrender certain rights. As such, the interpretation of the second amendment, as Locke and the nation’s founders would have read it, is that the second amendment guaruntees the government will not retract the God given right of a citizen to possess their own means of protection.

While I disagree with the idea of the pastor in the initial post, it’s for totally different reasons than the idea that people’s rights are granted by man rather than God.

Thank you, Beau. We can always count on you to derail interesting debate and spin it into absurdity.

There’s a couple of related threads in the Social Justice Forum dealing with guns and such.

Guns as part of such a celebration seems like a very bad idea to me. While we should celebrate our freedom and acknowledge the sacrifices those who have died have made, are we to celebrate the violent means by which we have been handed our freedom?

I think not.

Perhaps this pastor and Fred Phleps could get together and form a new church.

Grace & Peace!

Promethius, I see your point. But I don’t think this particular demonstration (by this pastor) is about whence rights are derived inasmuch as it’s about a particular political ideology that’s confused with national identity. The question of rights, I think, is a subsidiary issue here, mostly because the abstract right to defend oneself involves more nuance than simply the ability to carry firerms. The tendency in American fundamentalist protestantism is towards seeing the expression of an idealized American Nation as a form of revelation from God. That may sound extreme, but I don’t think it’s off base.

It’s one thing to believe, like the Deists, that God gave us rights that governments necessarily take away in order to govern. It’s another thing to believe that the instruments by which a State governs itself are themselves Divinely inspired, like scripture. The question has to do with locating where the transcendent value lies.

There is also the issue, that I won’t comment so much on now, of governing a 21st century state using 18th century statecraft. The belief that the 18th century statecraft is reflective of eternal values is also part of the divinization of the State that much modern fundamentalism seems bent upon.

Personally, I like Simone Weil’s distinction between rights and responsibilities best. In ourselves, we have no rights, only responsibilities to others. These responsibilities are non-negotiable. All rights are transient.

Under the Mercy,
Mark

All is grace and mercy! Deo gratias!

Yes - guns in churches, guns in schools, guns in maternity wards, guns on airplanes - we should support them all. Don’t you know they make us safer?

When I think of Waco I think of how the government needlessly murdered all of those people.

:whacky: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: thanks wabrams. i was in need of a hearty laugh!!

What does that tell you about the question posed?

I consider myself Swiftian.

I thought for sure you were going to follow that road down to slavery!?

Lots of good images there!

A slave auction in the parking lot after church.

It’s cigars! You’ve gone too far. I suggest you go fishing.

As for the Pastor wanting to celebrate the fourth with a show of arms. That’s pretty american I suppose. To be sure there is a political message being sent. Here in Michigan, we need our pastors permission to bring our pistols into mass. Maybe it’s the same there.:shrug:

Not for nothing NCSue, MSNBC is far from a reliable source of information for either religion or the second amendment. Just a word to the wise.:wink:

No, no,no. ‘Slavery’ raises too many hackles and I could get told on for ‘injecting race’ into a discussion, plus its more of an offshoot than what made America free.

Did folks really expect ‘interesting debate’ on subjects such as when to leave the country and if killing weapons should be brought into a sacred place of peace? When you think about it, maybe the subjects merit an absurd response.

I would have a problem going to a church that encourages its members to wear concealed weapons. I guess I’d be so concerned about the safety measurest that each person took to make sure their guns were safe that I wouldn’t be able to focus on the message of the sermon.

I’m not sure what this sort of sarcasm has to do with the topic?

But since you bring it up, let me please ask you, how is it that I am a threat when I wear a gun as I take my daughter to school every day and pick her up again in the afternoon? I’ve carried a gun into the church, onto school grounds, into my bank, and while shopping for groceries. In my state 11% of the adult population has a license to carry a gun. I suspect strongly that other parents also carry guns while taking their children to/from school, while shopping, and when going out to dinner with their families.

How are you less safe because of it?

Actually the pastor is encouraging its members to OPENLY carry the guns on their hips. He did not ask them to conceal the guns.

That said, I’m really not clear what the real motive of the pastor is with this *(at least from a religious standpoint). * It just seems very odd to me that a pastor would do this and mix it into his sermon.

Further, if all the guns are unloaded, which the article indicates they must be, then is that not just a public invitation for some criminal to show up with a LOADED gun to steal a whole bunch of guns?

Some people can not separate faith and politics. They think that Christianity is somehow connected with right wing positions, which leads to oddities like this. At the risk of overbroad generalities, I have seen this most often in the fundamentalist evangelical community. In reality there is no “Christian” position on a lot of issues, and where there is one, it is equally likely to line up with what is called ‘left’ as it is ‘right’.

BTW - I am a gun supporter, but that has nothing to do with my faith. Lots of good Christians are on the other side of this particular issue.

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