Legislators in Arkansas do no want to have to chose between god and guns. They are pushing legislation to allow citizens to pack heat in the house of God. Grant Exton is a gun owner and president of the state’s Concealed Carry Association insists that they are simply trying to give all churches the right have armed congregationalists. Gun owners can then lock and load for Jesus.
This does not go over well with Little Rock pastor John Phillips for good reason. In 1986, he explained: “A gentleman came into the church. He was mentally deranged, and at the end of the sermon, pulled out a gun and shouted something about baptism and proceeded to shoot me in the back a couple of times. I still carry one of the bullets embedded in my spine.”
This week is the 23rd anniversary of the shooting.
This could pose a difficult choice for gun owners of what weapon is best suited for a particular sermon. A Glock might be suitable for a New Testament sermon, but the Old Testament is strictly non-automatic weapons only. Easter might call for something cute like a derringer while Christmas deserves a MAC-10.
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56 thoughts on “Guns and God: Arkansas Legislators Move to Armed the Faithful in Church”
I cօuldn’t refraiո frdom commenting. Well written!
Fundies and their literal beliefs… even shotgun weddings.
Lets meditate on this thought – John Locke and the American Revolution or Jean Jaques Rousseau and the French Revolution. Hmm thats a hard choice, one the rights of man the other rule of the mob (collective).
Although I do apologize for what you consider poor sarcasm.
I dont know Buddha is Laughing said that he was a collectivist in the model of Rousseau. Seemed pretty clear to me.
I genuinely appreciate attempts by christians (or apologists for them) to lay claim to a peaceful legacy. Sorry. The very book(s) upon which the christian church is based is a brutal accounting of just how bizarrely cruel and unjust the ostensibly just god is. The god of the bible is a monster created for no other purpose than to control the masses. There is a perverse pride exhibited by the “faithful” in how god dispatches his “enemies”. There is a gleeful assurance that if one disobeys the almighty, there will be hell to pay…literally.
My point about guns and god is to expose the true character of the nutcases who make up the majority of those professing to be peaceful christians. Christianity is not a peaceful myth. Since it cannot possibly win the hearts and minds of those who care to think for themselves, it’s rife with fear mongering, plagues, murderous deities, stonings, and all manner of depravity parading as god’s holy hand. The only way to keep the flock in the corral is through the sheer terror of the consequences of disobeying god.
We should welcome guns into churches. Then, as the faithful encounter irreconcilable differences even amongst themselves (see Anglican Church, Baptist Church, Episcopal Church, et al) we can at least hope a full scale battle erupts every Sunday in every church across this deranged land of ours until the brethren eliminate themselves to the betterment of our tiny planet and the universe in general. Amen.
As are you.
As a 35 year student of scripture you are no doubt aware that most of the Torah part is metaphor. It was understood to be so by those who wrote it and as such the meanings are open to interpretation. It is those that take it as literal historical fact that are embroiled in its’ seeming violence. You and I agree that all 3 bible based religions have perpetrated hateful violence under the pretense of it being the will of God. I stand with Rabbi Hillel who roughly said of the Torah, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…all the rest is commentary.” Jesus framed this as the Golden Rule, but as you are probably aware Jesus was most probably a Pharisee Rabbi.
Not being a fan of Christianity itself and being of a people who suffered harshly from the Crusades, you won’t find me forgetting the evil that they wrought. It is interesting though that in mentioning the Crusades it is always forgotten that were it not for Charles Martel all of Europe might have been forcibly converted to Islam four centuries before the First Crusade. Using them as a metaphor of religious intolerance is weakened when the other side of the issue is not mentioned.
The Amber series would make for at least a series of 10 great films and I’d pay good money to see them King Random.
Also your response to Jill, especially referring to Nicaea expressed my feelings/thoughts and then went beyond them eloquently and accurately. I’m with you in believing we must start with ourselves and the ego that motivates us.
you’re right the Q documents reveal only a skeleton and the Gospels were written after Jesus death, but somehow I think a nugget of the actual man was revealed and he probably was of the same line of thought as the Buddha and all the like philosophies floating around the Earth in the five centuries before him. I think Buddhism is more about following a correct life path and getting beyond fear and hatred, than it is about fearing them.
I’m sorry but you are blissfully ignorant if you think anyone commenting on this site believes in the drivel you espouse with
Then we are in agreement. And thank you. You are very kind.
I agree that those emotions can definitly cloud our judgement. I didn’t think you were trying to convert me!
I think you see the good things in Jesus because you are good hearted. I think someone like Sara Palin sees some really ugly things in Jesus because she isn’t good hearted. The Bible can support both views, so I say, people should just own up to the fact that it’s them making the choice to be good or cruel and not worry about what any religious text has to say on the matter.
I’m not suggesting hate or fear don’t have valid evolutionary functions, just that letting them control your thinking is bad. It clouds judgment. It’s an issue of inform vs. control. Acting or reacting.
It’s a given I have no interest in converting you. I’m not a religious Buddhist. Philosophical. I was merely providing context.
We don’t really know that much about what Jesus really said and did. The Q documents are sparse. The gospels are written after the eyewitnesses to Jesus died. So it seems we are back to good people, looking to the good things Jesus was said to have done, as a guide in their life.
There are some decidedly mixed things that Jesus was said to have done (again, we really don’t know that much about what he actually did) so following Jesus’ example may not always be the best policy when trying to live a good life.
I understand what you are saying about the philosophy of Buddhism. I don’t share the beliefs of Buddhism– for example, I don’t think people should be afraid of feeling hate or fear. These are feelings that are telling us something. In some cases they are a call to self-examination especially when we are constantly hateful and afraid. In others, they are feelings telling us something in our life is dangerous–to look out! It’s important to know if something is dangerous so that we may take action to avoid/counter/protect ourself and others. I definitely agree that we should engage in self examination. People who don’t are usually cruel and do many bad things. Whether one is religious or not, a careful look at our own behavior is always a good idea!
I may be misunderstanding what you said and if so, I apologize. But based on my understanding, this is how I feel
Psst. “[T]hey are often following, not scripture . . . but the goodness that is within them”? I think that’s what Jesus was getting at, Jill. Just because some of the gospel have ridiculous cultural relics hampering them, don’t discount Christ’s fundamental teachings that God is love and to find Him, seek Him in your heart. The Council of Nicaea did a number when they assembled the New Testament from the multitude of gospels. Sometimes they lost touch with Christ’s appeals to the angels of our better nature out of their own more earthly considerations. In many ways, this message of seeking inside is quite consistent with tenets of Buddhism that the way to enlightenment is to seek the Buddha within although Buddhism works on the paradigm of desire being the root of all suffering, not original sin. The problem with Christianity is not Christ, but misapplication and understanding of gospels that often only capture part of the lesson and all of the third party writers non-enlightenment related agenda(s). Just like there are many moderate Muslims who wouldn’t dream of forcing their beliefs on others, there are Christians who feel the same way. In my experience, these people are usually looking for their peace of mind by self-examination, taking to heart the lesson that God helps those who help themselves, instead of seeking external approval from an invisible sky father that by all rational observation is indifferent to humanity. Not hostile. Not unloving. Indifferent. An Aristotelian prime mover. The engine of reality. And He will not be rescuing anyone. None of us are special or chosen. We’re all on the same spaceship. Rescuing humanity is OUR job. All of us. And we can all start by looking inside and putting our inner demons on a leash while freeing the angels of love, compassion and mercy. If you can’t eliminate or reduce hate and fear from your motives, how can you expect to fight those evils in the world? The only thing in life one has absolute control over is your internal reality (barring psychosis) and a limited influence on the world immediately around them. Want to make the world a better place? The starting place seems obvious. And let’s be honest, we’ve discussed ego as a root cause for evil behavior before and what would be the largest impediment to self-examination? Ego. It is axiomatic that not all advice obtained in a religious context is bad advice. I will agree that a LOT of it is though. Sorting through what’s gold and what’s garbage just may be the death of us all.
I am humbled in the face of superior intellects. I defer to such great thinkers on all maters. I have now been converted, I am a socialist. The state is all, I am nothing, I live for the state and my brothers, what is mine is theirs. I shall have no thoughts save what the state requires me to think. I am now at peace with all mankind. The state is my father and my mother, I shall be blessed by the will of the people for the collective is all knowing and good.
My desires matter not if they do not align with the greater good of the collective. I will henceforth be We98.
I find I have to agree with you. When Christians act in a kind, peaceful manner, they are often following, not scripture (or at least they are ignoring hugh portions of scripture) but the goodness that is within them. They attribute this goodness to god but I think it is really them.
Since when does the Bible, the Koran or most other “religious” texts lay a claim to peace? Speaking strictly from my 35 years as a student of scripture, the God of the Bible is perhaps the most violent, petulant, duplicitous, murderous, jealous, insane being ever conceived by man. In fact, man created god in his image, not the other way around.
To find it strange that followers of the Bible are also violent, self-aggrandizing, deeply conflicted misanthropes is, in itself, strange. Bringing guns to a worship service fits perfectly into the disturbed world view of the “guns and god” crowd. Violence has long been a staple of the “christian” tradition (see, Spanish Inquisition, The Crusades, The Great Flood). If christians can win hearts and minds, do as the missionaries did, kill the heathens; or at least beat them until a conversion takes place.
What I find most odd is that “christians” have been cast as peaceful sorts. The church has a rap sheet as long as my arm.
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