Of Guns and Priests

A busy Christmas and New Year, new tasks taken on including redesigning the abbey’s website (a work still in progress but light is at the end of the tunnel), and a speechless-making horror at the gun debate currently recently re-ignited in the States have kept me from here. Mea culpa. If the forecast levels of snow actually come to pass here tomorrow, there may be more time than I had bargained for.

In fact, I did touch on the topic shortly after Sandy Hook. Still, the gun debate is a live (as in grenade) topic in Catholic circles as much as secular ones. While there is always need to beware of simplistic arguments in any direction, it is hard to see how difficult it is for so many Americans, not least conservative Catholic ones, to see the need for gun control. Dubious arguments about other countries with gun controls and higher rates of death by firearm do nothing to allay the disquiet. No serious advocate of gun control would argue that there is more to the issue than merely restricting access to firearms. Culture plays a significant role in a nation’s level of crime. Brazil is not open to direct and unconditional comparison with the USA. It has levels of urban poverty, as well as police and political corruption, that are in a league beyond that of America.

Likewise, to follow another line of argument, until recently the Swiss had an almost full armed population, which arose form the population at large forming a standing reserve militia to be activated in case of invasion. Firearm homicides there were stunningly low. So, the argument goes, the issue cannot be guns. Well, the Swiss did not go toting them around like trophies or fashion accessories. There were not rapid-fire assault rifles. They were locked up and never removed from their housing except for their regular maintenance. They were in case of foreign invasion and nothing else. The American gun lobbyists’ rhetoric is aimed at their own government, not foreign invaders. While the Swiss have a stable democracy which they trust, Americans have nothing like the same trust in their democratic government. Their mistrust leads them to carry guns. The logical conclusion if that way of proceeding does not bear thinking of… or maybe it does, now more than ever.

Another argument recently reissued by the lobbyists is self-defence: we need guns to protect ourselves from criminals (and others?). Given all the mass shootings in the USA, how is it that none of these have been prevented by gun-toting citizens? And who needs a military assault rifle to protect their families? For pity’s sake… If a man has a knife, he might kill one or two people before he is overpowered. If Adam Lanza had gone to Sandy Hook Elementary School with a knife, he would not have been able to kill 28 people. Instead he accessed the arsenal in his mother’s home and armed himself with a Bushmaster rapid-fire rifle, among other weapons. Most knives are designed to cut food or other objects; all guns are designed to kill. Is that not obvious?

America has many problems, as do all nations, but one almost unique to them is the sin of idolatry of the gun. Because the right to bear arms is in their constitution, they will and must exercise that right. Guns are a symbol of their freedom. Little matter that the constitution was written more than two centuries ago, and the authors also wanted to be able to raise a militia in case the redcoats returned. In other words, the second amendment seems very much to have been a product of its time, a time long past. It is particularly disturbing to see priests loudly opposing gun control, posting pictures of all sorts of weaponry that again raises the question of the American idolization of guns.

Priests check the firearms of Marines who will be sent to Basilan province in southern Philippines during the 110th founding anniversary of the Philippine Navy in Manila

It’s not America… but similar scenes there are highly likely.

One fact stands out clearly, the overwhelming majority of fatal mass shootings have occurred in the USA, where a large majority of citizens can buy and use an assault rifle. School shootings seem to be a particular speciality in the States.

SchoolShootingsThis map shows school shootings throughout the world since 1996, and can be accessed in full interactive detail here. I, for one, am happy to be living in a country with gun controls. It is hard to see how Catholics can be pro-life and also pro-guns. Maybe I am slow…

On a happier note, there is news that the Vatican will issue a new manual for priests, on how to say Mass properly. Alleluia! At last we have a single resource that all priests can refer to in order to guarantee that Mass is celebrated according to the mind of the Church rather than the individual priest’s. I wonder at the adequacy in some places of the preparation for celebrating Mass and the sacraments. This manual will help to remedy any inadequacies, it is to be hoped. Publication is due this summer. You can read more over here.

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30 thoughts on “Of Guns and Priests

  1. anumblepp says:

    Thanks for posting this, Father – balanced and thoughtful. as ever.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      Thank you for reading. Pax!

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    • Brigid says:

      Hi Father Hugh
      I notice the map does not include the terrible massacre @ Port Arthur in Tasmania which occurred in April 1996.
      We will never forget the victims and we pray for their families.
      Australia did something positive after this tragedy – legislation was strengthened and a gun buy-back scheme was effective.
      Cheers

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        HI! No, the map does not include Port Arthur because the map only shows school shootings. That’s the factor that adds an extra chill down the spine: all those red flags are just school shootings. But your point still stands. The gun buy-back was a great success, a great deal of good came out of the tragedy, and contrary to the fears of such as the American gun lobby, Australia is no less democratic or free because of it. Indeed I would say Australians are more free; more free to go to a tourist attraction without being gunned down, for example. And unlike so many in the States, Australians do not see the government they regularly elect as a potential mortal enemy, however much they might disagree with a particular government’s policies.

        Peace and blessings!

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  2. Rubricarius says:

    Hear, hear! Idolatry perfectly describes and indentifies the USA obsession with firearms.

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  3. While I agree with some of your remarks, Fr Hugh, I am wary of saying you can’t be pro-life and pro-gun. I’m thinking of “Evangelium Vitae” and Bl John Paul II’s distinction between abortion and euthanasia, which are always and everywhere wrong, and the possibility that war and self-defence can be justified–and therefore gun owning can be justified. It seems to me that the Founding Fathers had just those things in mind when they wrote the 2nd Amendment.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      Salve, Sr Veronica! And happy new year.

      I am very wary of equating the right (never obligation) to self-defence with the right to bear firearms. That nations can have an army to defend the common good of the nation is, and remains, consonant with Catholic teaching, though I think in the Christian dispensation it has more of a concession about it than an absolute right. Our Lord’s teaching, so earnestly followed by the early Church, was to turn the other cheek even to the point of death. This is why early Christians had such a significant debate about whether they could serve as soldiers at all. And there are two separate issues here: personal self-defence and national self-defence. The two should not be conflated.

      Moreover, allowing that there is a right to self-defence, this can not be labelled “pro-gun” justly. There are other ways of defending oneself, and the best means are preventative. “Pro-gun” is something I find very hard to accept as a legitimate Catholic position. If widespread ownership of guns, by average citizens rather than by just police officers etc, can be justified, a Catholic should at least show it is a sad necessity grudgingly accepted, rather than glory in such weaponry and the right to own it.

      And, with all due respect, I very much doubt the Founding Fathers had Catholic teaching in mind when they added the second amendment. Standing armies were rare in those days, large ones even more so. Thus it served their immediate purpose to have a population that could quickly be called to the colours if the redcoats re-appeared. And as I said, this is not unreasonable as a means of national defence against foreign invaders, as with the Swiss. But against your own government!

      The argument with regard to personal self-defence I am yet to find convincing in practical terms. America, with so many well-armed citizens, has not been able to prevent all the mass-shootings that so regularly blight its national life. Indeed the ready availability of high-powered firearms has facilitated the carnage. Obviously ‘guns for self-defence’ is not really working in practice. And all too often we read of, or see on Youtube, a citizen shooting dead intruders or robbers without so much as a “stop or I’ll shoot”. Too often this is a grossly disproportionate response. I prefer countries like Britain (with largely unarmed police) and even Australia (with all police armed) who shoot as a last resort, and seek non-lethal means to bring an offender to justice. To commit a crime does not mean that one forfeits one’s right to life.

      Sorry, I am getting preachy again! Must be all this snow. ;-)

      Pax!

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      • Thanks for your reply, Fr Hugh! I suspect we are in general agreement on this. Far be it from me to advocate gun use as anything but the last, regrettable resort! What I want to mention, though, are two things that I think are colouring the US gun control debate, for better or for worse…

        First, I was taught in school that the government is there on sufferance and that “we the people” actually run the country. If the government goes bad, we get rid of them–ideally through the ballot box but, since the armed revolution approach worked once, we keep that option open too. Considering that we presently have quite an unpopular government whose inclination to abide by the law is patchy (Defence of Marriage Act, anyone?), mitigating the people’s right to bear arms is going to strike a whole lot of those people as downright crazy.

        And as for self-defence, you are right that guns have not prevented any massacres–and I wonder whether they really help when someone is surprised by a burglar or mugger–but it’s the perception that’s key here: guns make gun owners *feel* safe. The people I know who have guns and concealed-carry permits are single women and working moms who feel vulnerable when they’re alone in a car-park or at home. They’re smart, they’re trained to use their weapons, and they see zero connection between their guns and those used at Sandy Hook, Columbine, etc.

        I shall now go back to enjoying the fabulous snowfall. Pax!

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        Ahoy!

        Thank you for your illuminating insights into the mainstream American psyche. You offered detail thus far closed to me. But that same detail raises even more questions for me!!

        Americans see their government as there on sufferance? I think those in a Westminster-style system, and probably many others, would see government as a necessity, not something to be endured. No one here thinks the people run the country; rather, we choose who runs the country, and leave them to it until they overstep the mark or otherwise displease us. Then we take to the streets, march, shout, and at our worst throw things at the police. Only the rare extremist would ever think of shooting at them, or at politicians, and it is quite foreign to the Anglo psyche to have recourse to revolution. We see no need to bear arms against an unwanted government. We trust in the ballot box, and it seems to work. While I have no time for the Obama policies on marriage or abortion, no time at all, that could never be cause for me to take arms against him were I American. Rather I wait till the election and vote in a government that will undo those policies. If there is no opposition that has emerged to do so, that reflects a truly rotten core in such a society. And that rotten core would not be fixed by any revolution. Revolution does not have a good standing in Catholic theology. It is very much a Protestant thing.

        As to “feeling” safe by having a gun… how can one justify supporting a feeling that is unrealistic, indeed wrong in the main. Moreover, in perpetuating it one makes society less safe because of the proliferation of firearms. If they do not see that connection, they need to, and quickly.

        By the way, I am not indulging in some sort of Bash-America day! Rather, I am working through, out loud, how such a religious, richly-resourced, innovative and productive democracy can have such an Achilles heel.

        Pax semper.

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  4. SaintlySages says:

    The Catechism 2264-65 explains why law-abiding citizens find their particular situation such that they feel morally obliged to carry arms for defense.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      Thank you for referring to these sections of the Catechism, though they should be read very carefully. #2264 decrees that it is “legitimate” to assert one’s own right to life, but not obligatory. This must be so, otherwise Christ himself would be guilty of immorality. Personal self-defense is legitimate in Christian morality, but not required. Indeed, the higher counsel is to lay down one’s life for another. Higher, but tougher, for sure. This section then goes on to quote Aquinas about the need for proportionate force in self-defence, exactly a point I was trying to make above. An assault rifle in every home is not necessary, nor proportionate, for self-defence.

      #2265 begins with careful wording. “Legitimate” self-defence “can be” not only a “right” but also a “duty” for “those responsible for the lives of others”. So self-defence is not always legitimate, can sometimes be a right, and even sometimes a duty, but only for those defending the lives of those for whom they are responsible. An individual does not bear specific and obligatory responsibility for a stranger in a bar during a hold-up, and so has no duty, and arguably no right, to shoot a bandit in defence of the stranger. The possibility, not the inevitability, of duty would devolve on those with a specific responsibility for others, a father for his family for example. And only if there was clear threat to life. Most burglars have no desire nor interest in murdering the occupants of houses they burgle; shooting them dead would hardly be morally justifiable unless the burglar was armed with a deadly weapon and manifested a clear intention to injure a family member. One might satisfy civil law, but there is not quite the same scope for legal manoeuvring with God. An action can be legal and still immoral, as we know from abortion.

      Lastly this section clearly has its focus on the duty of nations to protect their citizens, not on citizens protecting themselves.

      So I am afraid I see little that supports the notion that citizens may be “morally obliged to carry arms for defense” in the Catechism, at least not without a series of caveats and pre-conditions. The Catechism has been worded very carefully indeed.

      Peace to you!

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  5. Bill says:

    This post is HOPELESSLY naive and full of misinformation espoused as fact. The framers of this country focused the argument on the need to prevent an all-powerful government falling into tyranny. Without the ability to fight ‘fire with fire’ via the 2nd amendment, you can forget about all of the other amendments Fr. This includes your freedom to offer Mass. Study history…1) registration 2) confiscation 3) extermination. One fact is correct…increased gun violence on school property since 1996. That is when ‘gun-free school zones’ began.

    The Oregon mall shooting ceased when a concealed carry permit holder aimed his gun at the assailant and called for him to stop. The assailant promptly ran into the restroom and committed suicide.
    The Newtown, CT shooter did not have an AR-15. He had two handguns. A rifle (not AR-15) was found later locked up in his trunk.
    You are falling victim to believing what this regime and willful press corps is feeding you. What frightens me most is the gullibility of the American sheeple. This is not over by a long shot and will end badly.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      Perhaps I have not checked the things I have read carefully enough. Granted. But I am afraid it does not alter my position one iota. Sorry.

      Pax.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        Back again – vespers took priority. Reading again your assertion that all the other amendments stand or fall to the degree to which citizens may bear arms, and it would seem, any arms they want, I am reminded yet again of how Americans, unlike other nations, see the need to arm themselves against their own government rather than a foreign invader. Democracy implies that if a government does not meet the will of the people, the people will vote in another government. This is how it works very successfully in Britain and Australia, which are highly stable democracies. Why is that Americans are so uncertain of their own democratic institutions that they still feel the need to justify arming themselves against their own government? Is American democracy more illusory than real?

        On my Facebook page someone asked if this was another example of American Exceptionalism, namely that Americans have a God-given right to bear arms, and not just bear them but tote them with relish. The irony is that American Exceptionalism in its fundamental form is the American belief that they have a mission to bring democracy to the world (or some would say, impose it). Yet Americans seem so unsure of their own brand of democracy, it rather undermines this mission.

        There may be cogent political arguments in the American context for the American fixation the gun. But I am to find any decent Catholic ones. Barring a papal pronouncement in their favour (HIGHLY unlikely), I will rest on a plain reading of scripture and theology.

        Pax!

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  6. SaintlySages says:

    Responsible people, if they choose to arm themselves, should not do so to kill an unarmed burglar out of vengeance, but rather to protect themselves and those in their care against imminent threats against their lives, such as occur in home invasions and armed robberies. Judging from news clippings, it seems that the issue in America is not burglary, but violent crimes against innocent persons. No reasonable person would take a human life to save a replaceable piece of property.

    Christ declared that He will judge us based on how we treat the least among us. How will He judge a cowardly man who shirks his parental responsibility by making no serious attempt to stop a criminal from murdering his vulnerable children and pregnant wife? Or, how will He judge a man who carelessly forfeits his own life at the hands of a murderer, knowing that he leaves behind a widow and orphans, deprived of the support he pledged them?

    In seems quite prudent that the Catechism #2265 should mention “a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others.” Good advice until that day when all the wicked choose to “beat their swords into plowshares” (Is 2:4).

    God bless, Fr Hugh!

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      Hail!

      Still I am not convinced. Taking a life to save a life can be justified of course, but it is not powerfully done. Moreover, I do not see that bearing arms is the only way one can make a “serious” attempt to protect one’s family. If it were so, then most of the world is seriously deficient in this regard. Prevention is always the best remedy. And at least in the UK and Australia, we do not see the world as full of people who might at any time come and kill us. This is the stuff of national paranoia.

      Christ told Peter to lay down his sword when he raised it in defence of Christ, his Lord and God! What higher value could there be to defend. And yet, Christ did not sanction violence in his defence.

      The bell has rung… Pax!

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  7. Bill says:

    While reading this non-sense I am reminded of Neville Chamberlain.

    Whatever else one might say about him, Gandhi could not be accused of mincing his words or shying away from the logical conclusion of absolute pacifism. In Non-Violence in Peace and War, Gandhi offered the following advice to the British people;

    “I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions…If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them.”

    This is one of the comments which inspired George Orwell to declare that “pacifism is objectively pro-fascist;”

    This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      If you leave off the invective a moment, you will see on re-reading what I wrote that, in fact, I accept that states bear arms in national self-defence against foreign invaders. I quite agree with Gandhi. My problem is with highly armed individual citizens appointing themselves vigilantes, even against their own governments.

      You accuse me of pacifism when I am not a pacifist. Stop the name-calling. It betokens insecurity in one’s argument.

      Britain has defended itself, as has Australia, yet they see no need to arm their whole populations. America is armed to the teeth, and school massacres occur there at a rate far beyond the rest of the world combined. Tell us why, if you are all able to defend yourselves with overwhelmingly disproportionate force.

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      • Bill says:

        As I commented in my first reply, national ‘gun-free zones’ were enacted in the U.S. in the 1990′s. This created an area where defenseless teachers and children are ‘sitting ducks’ for the criminally insane to realize their last 15 minutes of fame.
        These school shootings leave teachers (who were brave enough to stand and take a bullet to protect their students) to huddle under their desks and hope the criminally insane shoots someone else but not them. Gee, that strategy is working out well!
        You don’t see these individuals storming a local gun store and trying to ply their trade. Gee, I wonder why?
        These ‘mass murderers’ are 16-22 year old boys taking psychotropic medications. Have you researched the side effects of these powerful medicaments? I am a doctor and know that US children are being drugged with these.
        When these boys finish their ‘shoot-up’, they not infrequently commit suicide or shoot at the law enforcement officers (finally they arrived) and are ‘neutralized’ (killed). The media makes a circus out of it and the murderer is known all over the globe. The copy cats continue. Many psychologists/psychiatrists have commented on this self-perpetuating phenomenon. It makes no sense unless you change your paradigm and view it through the prism…what if this is being done on purpose to fulfill an agenda? Ohhhh, now it makes perfect sense!

        I would love to take your hand, Fr, and show you the data and information that is out there on the web and watch the look on your face when that moment of realization occurs in your mind…just how deep, sinister, and evil the world has become. And those who doubt the true nature of evil…fall into the trap. We do indeed struggle against Thrones and Dominions.

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  8. Fr Hugh says:

    What a country America must be.

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  9. Bill says:

    1) Violent crime in G.B. far exceeds that in the U.S. per population
    2) Guns are illegal in G.B. , not in U.S.
    3) Give me your data that supports your allegation that in the U.S. “everyone (is) carrying a gun.” No really Fr., show me.
    I have much more fear of this government than I do of some ‘random nut job.’ The Constitutionalists of this country prefer the government fears the people.
    The world has shunned the Lord. His loving chastisement is due.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      (1) So if we carried guns we could kill violent people? Hardly a solution. To be violent (and we are talking about violent crime in general not homicides alone) is not to forfeit one’s eight to life. Besides, if Britain is this violent I would certainly not want these people to have easy access to guns.

      (2) Guns are not illegal in Britain; most farmers have one. Rather ownership is restricted and strictly licensed, and relatively stringent criteria must be met in order to be licensed.

      (3) As you well know, my “everyone” was rhetorical hyperbole to make a point. So, please do answer the point.

      Bes time for this monk. Good night.

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  10. Bill says:

    For Fr Hugh and all following this thread:
    Go here. Read. Discern. Read the comments.
    If you are not an American or you are an Amerikan, learn for yourselves what is out there.
    Obama did not ‘proclaim’ his Executive Order to outlaw guns. Why?
    I know why. The regime knows why. It is because Americans have guns. This will come to a head…like I said…stay tuned.

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  11. Bill says:

    You know as well as I do “So if we carried guns we could kill violent people?” is not what I advocate. I desire ‘heaven on earth’. I am a realist. Ain’t going to happen anytime soon. If a criminal is not sure who has a gun and who doesn’t, he/she is less likely to ‘attack/invade/violate’. This is why there is ‘less violent crime in America than in Great Britain. I’m beginning to think that last sentence bruises your tender ego. Pride, Fr., pride.
    So you agree, you are exaggerating when you say that ‘everyone in America carries a gun’. Some people would call that what it is… lying.
    This is what happens in this discussion in Amerika; people, institutions…lie. I am interested in the Truth. I would rather know the Truth and grapple and toil with it…than be lied to and ‘feel” that I am at peace.
    Spend some time on the above website.
    I am interested in the world ‘wakening up’.

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  12. Bill says:

    Friday, January 18, 2013
    A draft letter for your Pastor from Alvie
    Here’s something I drafted up which you may feel free to share with your pastor regarding the gun grab. Feel free to cut, paste, adjust, print it off, send it, or share it directly with your pastor. Fair warning, I’ve not done a thorough proofread-you just can’t proof your own work. If I goofed something, let me know. Edits welcome. I’m tired and still have stuff to do that isn’t on this keyboard so it’s as complete and coherent as I can do.

    Mark closely what answer you get. I know I will.
    _______________

    When do you intend to declare where you stand on this gun grab issue?

    The simple fact is that those people in Washington intend to take away firearms from every American. Regardless of which path they choose, it’s a declaration of war against America by this Government.

    You have firearms owners within this congregation. Lots of them. You have law enforcement in this congregation.

    If this whole thing proceeds forward, then everyone will have to choose where they stand. Those who wear a badge will have to choose whether to honor their oaths or obey their orders. People like me will have to decide when, where, and against whom we fight and whether to play defense or go on offense.

    As the pastor you have the unenviable task of being the undershepherd to this church and delivering God’s word. You have to take a stand and speak what you think is true and right whether anyone supports you or not. But as the leader, you do not have the luxury to just wait and see.

    We are headed towards a showdown about restrictions on government and the rights of the people. About who’s in charge and who is the servant. About whether government is our servant or our master. About whether we’re citizens or subjects. And these are truly talking irreconcilable viewpoints here. There is no middle ground where we should be compelled to accept partial slavery here. There is no middle ground where we should be compelled to accept a little more tyranny. If there were, then we should all be British subjects and the founders would have all swung from the gallows.

    History has shown us many times how this works for tyrants. Registration, Confiscation, Extermination. It happened to the Armenians in Turkey. It happened to the Jews in Germany. It happened to the Russians after the Bolsheviks took over. In the last century alone, more than 170 million people are estimated to have been slaughtered not in war or by simple crime, but by a comprehensive and coordinated policy of their government. To think that it cannot happen here is folly. It is beginning here. Again.

    In 1775, General Thomas Gage sent out parties to confiscate war-making materials from the colonists. Muskets, ball, cap, cannons, and powder were to be taken. This worked once, but it helped to create the Powder Alarm and ultimately the alarm system. When Gage sent his troops out on the night of April 18th towards Lexington and Concord, the alarm system sprung into action. Instead of meeting sleepy villagers climbing out of their hut surprised at the approach of the army, they met determined men in formation, armed, and ready. The problem was that it was not merely Lexington and Concord that were awakened. The entire countryside was buzzing. As the British moved to meet the men of Lexington and Concord, they didn’t just face armed men in formation, they soon found themselves being watched from behind as other units arrived from surrounding villages. So it wasn’t a matter of the muskets that they faced, it was a matter of all the muskets that faced them. If necessary, this will all happen again.

    Our founding fathers recognized tyranny for what it was because of the power with which their preachers delivered the word of God as it pertained to liberty. More than anything else, this is why the American Revolution succeeded. America today is angry enough to spit nails. But we haven’t got a mustard seed of the righteousness of our founders. Put another way, had we the righteousness of our founders, America would have long since revolted.

    I think it’s time that the preachers of this country return to the idea of boldly preaching liberty according to God’s word, rather than a 501(c) compliant (i.e state approved) message that interprets Romans 13 to mean eternal subjection to the whim of the state and the rulers appointed over us. If that were the case, then would it not mean that every martyr for Christ DESERVED every lash of the whip that they received for violating the laws of the ruler appointed over them? Would that not mean that they sinned in violating man’s laws to obey God’s laws? Would that then imply that we are free to live out the word of God only where we are allowed by the laws of man? I believe that had pastors and priests remained true to the ideal of liberty preached to our forefathers throughout the last two centuries we would not be in the awful state we’re in. But I recognize my own shortcoming here as well. Jesus called us sheep for a reason and he was right on the money. We stray.

    We live in a representative republic that our founders risked their all to create. And many of them indeed did lose their all. They addressed the King’s policies and that didn’t work. They addressed the King’s property and that didn’t work. Finally they addressed the King’s men and there was no way to ignore their grievance. If we really believe that we’re so free, if we really believe that God blessed America to be so unique and special, if we believe that we’re this shining city on a hill in this world, if we believe all that we hear preached about the greatness of America today, then the reality of the founding of this country must be faced.

    Our forefathers were not American citizens. They were British subjects who revolted against the legal and rightful authority of the British crown. The fact that this authority was tyrannical is irrelevant-they revolted. They broke the windows. They destroyed the King’s property. They tarred and feathered his men. They took up arms in formation and faced off against his soldiers that night in Lexington and Concord. And they prevailed.

    Now for the catch, if we really believe all that we preach about America’s greatness, how God has blessed us, then we approve of the right of the founders to revolt against the rulers appointed over them. And if it is acceptable for those men to resist, to refuse to comply, to revolt in their day, in accordance with God’s word for the sake of liberty, then it must also be acceptable for men to do so today. If not, you have the opportunity to explain why before any of them do.

    If it’s not acceptable for men to revolt against tyranny for the sake of liberty according to God’s word today, then it wasn’t acceptable then either. And if that’s the case, then we are duty bound to apologize to the British, pay them reparations, and then willingly surrender and submit ourselves to be subjects of whatever authority appears in our own land without regard to the evil that they perpetrate upon the people, the property, and the liberty of the nation which was bought by the blood of free men. If it is not acceptable for men to revolt against tyranny, then we should surrender today to try and negotiate for better terms. We should agree with the enemies of liberty that the Articles of Confederation, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, our Declaration of Independence are all meaningless. We should negotiate today for whatever rights our government will allow us to have, which bunk we will have, how many ounces of gruel, and how many cubic yards of copper ore we must dig per day in the Gulag.

    It’s either right or it’s not.

    There’s a well documented case for why the founders did what they did. They wrote this down for us so that we would not be ignorant as to where we came from as a nation. They wrote it down so that we would understand that we did not come from a raucous mob that simply got angry and started a war. We came from men who depended upon God’s leading in their endeavor for liberty and who believed that they were simply obeying God’s will. All of those founding documents are still as applicable today as when they were written. They still mean today what they meant when they were written. Those founding documents are either completely true and still valid, or they are completely false and invalid. In this regard, they are no different than the Bible. If you can prove any piece of the Bible to be false, then the whole thing is false. We are either free men or we are slaves. There is no middle ground.

    The same people who seek to take guns away from the law-abiding are the same people who walked guns across the Mexican border into the hands of the lawless. I would say that you could ask Brian Terry or Jamie Zapata, but they’re both dead. Killed with weapons that our government handed to drug cartels. With that alone in mind, this whole gun control debate isn’t about guns. It’s about control.

    Who is going to control America? Who is going to be in control? Government and criminals (sorry to be redundant there) or free men? Will we willingly yield ourselves up to be the serfs of a tyrant having once been free? God forbid. Will we take arms and immediately commence firing against the tyrant and his men without first addressing the policies and the property before turning all attention towards the tyrant’s men?

    What are we going to pass on to our children, Liberty or Slavery? More directly, what are you going to preach on this subject?

    Let me take it a step further, pastor. Allow me to point towards the funerals that you will have to preach and widows and families that you will have to console. It may be funerals for free men who died trying to remain free and preserve this for their posterity. It may be funerals for servants of the government who decided to obey their orders instead of honoring their oath. You have both in your congregation.

    On a personal note, seeing the boldness of our foes, the lack of genuine opposition in our government, the lack of allies around me, and the fear struck into the hearts of free men, I fully expect to be either dead, in prison, or kidnapped in a black bag operation (made “legal” by the 2012 NDAA) where I’ll have no contact and you’ll only know I’ve disappeared. In any case, my voice will decrease and the government’s volume will increase. And they will spread all manner of slander and calumny about me in every outlet they can find so as to justify their own actions. Live or die, my life as I’ve known it will be over and you’ll know that every word I’ve written here is true.

    So let me offer you some thoughts for how I’d like my funeral to go.

    Preach the following:

    1. The gospel.
    2. Liberty and resistance to tyranny.
    3. I presume that I will die resisting. Preach it. If I go out resisting, I’ll leave with a smile because I went with my boots on and can rest unashamed.
    4. Justice against those who did it. Plead the case of the widows and fatherless.
    5. Victory.

    For the record, if I did resist unto death, then there’s a good chance that I sent some of the tyrant’s men onward ahead of me. There’s no joy in killing. There’s no glory there except in weakening the aggressor team for other resistors who shall eventually prevail by God’s grace. If I am wrong about all this, then I’m just a murderer. If I’m right though, then I hope you can preach it as I’ve outlined it.

    1 Comment
    Pilgrim said…
    I imagine that most pastors will not directly address it for precisely that reason.

    Yet one cannot serve two masters.

    There is NO neutrality.

    None.

    Like

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