An op-ed by a leading Christian conservative in the National Review is getting a great deal of attention for its ludicrous claim that Jesus wants you to have guns. David French, who was a Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) — a top Christian legal group that changed its name to the Alliance Defending Freedom around the time it started getting bad press for a lawyer who was ultimately convicted on charges related to child pornography with her own daughter — writes “The Biblical and Natural Right of Self-Defense,” to make the cherry-picked and biblical-misinterpreted verse claim.
“Simply put, self defense is a biblical and natural right of man,” French argues, adding, “There is nothing about the cross that requires me to allow someone to kill my family — or anyone else for that matter. Indeed, I have a moral imperative to come to the aid of those in distress.”
“In fact, Jesus’s disciples carried swords, and Jesus even said in some contexts the unarmed should arm themselves. The sword’s use was only specifically forbidden when Peter used violence to block Christ’s specific purpose to lay down his life.”
Writing, “I kid you not,” Andrew Sullivan notes, sarcastically, “Christianity is now apparently compatible with the gun lobby.”
For some reason, this particular statement from Jesus – one of the most famous in all of human history – doesn’t appear in the post:
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.
The great drama of the Passion requires absolute nonviolence in the face of even immense injustice. Not only did Jesus not resist the violence done to him, he refused even to offer a word of self-defense in front of Pilate.
French opens his argument railing against Senator Diane Feinstein’s assault gun ban bill and equates it to the state trying to take away all guns, a clearly devious and ridiculous move. There’s a difference between the Biblical statement Jesus made in Luke 22:36, and stockpiling assault weapons.
He then writes:
What does all this mean? Essentially that gun control represents not merely a limitation on a constitutional right but a limitation on a God-given right of man that has existed throughout the history of civil society. All rights — of course — are subject to some limits (the right of free speech is not unlimited, for example), and there is much room for debate on the extent of those limits, but state action against the right of self-defense is by default a violation of the natural rights of man, and the state’s political judgment about the limitations of that right should be viewed with extreme skepticism and must overcome a heavy burden of justification.
Sullivan adds that Jesus “is now a symbol for ‘pro-family’ and ‘pro-gun’ Republicanism:
And yet he had no property to defend, no wife to protect, no children to keep safe, no house to live in. He never carried a weapon and rebuked his friends when they used one against a mob armed with clubs and swords about to arrest and torture him to death. He was homeless, completely dependent on the good will, shelter and food of others. He was, as today’s Republicans would say, a “taker”. But of course, it is in giving that you receive in Christianity. Jesus inverted the entire maker-taker paradigm. So no, congressman Ryan, you cannot be a disciple of Ayn Rand and Jesus of Nazareth. In any way whatsoever.
God help us.
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