The Totalitarians Among Us

Herschel Smith · 03 Mar 2014 · 15 Comments

Victor Davis Hanson observes: In short, Obama will always poll around 45 percent. That core support is his lasting legacy. In a mere five years, by the vast expansion of federal spending, by the demonizing rhetoric of his partisan bully pulpit, and by executive orders and bizarre appointments, Obama has so divided the nation that he has created a permanent constituency that will never care as much about what he does as it cares about what he says and represents. For elite rich liberals…… [read more]

Kenyan Pastors Ask For Guns

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

The Washington Post:

NAIROBI, Kenya — As attacks on Christians mount in Kenya’s coastal region, some evangelical pastors in Mombasa area no longer may be willing to turn the other cheek.

Worried about attacks against their churches and congregations, some pastors are asking for rifles to protect themselves from suspected Islamic extremists.

The violence intensified on Oct. 20 and 21, when two evangelical church pastors were killed inside their churches. Pastor Charles Mathole, 41, was killed Oct. 20 as he prayed inside his Vikwatani Redeemed Gospel Church. The following day, East African Pentecostal Church pastor Ibrahim Kithaka was found dead in Kilifi, about 35 miles north of Mombasa.

Christian leaders blame the attacks on increased radicalization of Muslim youth. The attacks have occurred amid protests by Muslims that they were being targeted in Nairobi’s war against terrorism.

“Our many churches are not under any protection. They do not have walls or gates. The government should issue AK-47 rifles to every church so that we can stop them from being burnt, our property from being looted and our pastors and Christians from being killed,” said Lambert Mbela, a pastor at Mathole’s church, during his funeral.

Good for them.  A rifle is a better personal defense weapon than a handgun except where the barrel length is an impediment to CQB (although I would certainly choose to have access to both).

We are seeing more of that muscular Christianity where Christians defend themselves, the justification of which is something we’ve discussed here and here.  And notice that these pastors aren’t attempting to make some sort of in-vogue or posh political statement.  Hand wringing over what the elitists think of you is a boring, first world white people problem.  These men are fighting for their very lives and to protect their flock.

Does the American Christian church care anything about churches across the sea and on the other side of the world?  Does American Christianity care that the Syrian Christians are being slaughtered?  My answer is no.  When is the last time you heard a sermon on imprecatory prayers against the evil-doers and radical Islamists?  When is the last time you saw a loud mouth American pastor of a mega-church take a road trip to Syria to visit fellow Christians?

We’re too busy navel gazing to do much of anything except be anemic and worthless.  How about this.  In order to show your affection for your brothers and sisters in Kenya, instead of having your next Presbytery or General Assembly meeting where you can glad-hand your admirers and have your worthless committee meetings and be elected to this post and that one, cancel the meetings and arrange to carry weapons to your Kenyan brethren.  Otherwise, shut up about “Christian love.”  If we’re going to be running guns to the Christians in Kenya, sign me up to go with you.  I’ll put my money where my mouth is.  We need to carry a bunch of them in order to counter the guns Obama is running to the Islamists.

When Christians Discuss Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 3 months ago

I’ve dealt with this issue in significant detail before, but occasionally it pays to rehearse the case again for those who missed it, or become weak of heart, or become confused amid all of the sophomoric commentary.

In The Christian Answer To Gun Violence? Eliminate Guns, Dan Webster makes a case that Jesus was a pacifist.  The point here isn’t what Dan thinks, because his commentary is silly and trite.  Much better commentary is delivered in the comments where I discussed this issue with a reader.  I cannot possibly rehearse the entire conversation (you can read it for yourself), but it pays to have this conversation with people.

In large measure, American Christianity has become a free-for-all hermeneutic, with classical doctrine being replaced by bohemian hippie love-fest manifestations of the social gospel.  This causes people to believe that Jesus was a pacifist, that they must be doormats, and that they must reject all forms of self defense.

But put in visceral, real-to-life applications for them, they must admit that defense of themselves with whatever means necessary reflects the importance of God’s image in them.  A fortiori, from the lesser to the greater, protection of their families is even more important.  As I previously observed:

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers.

Failing to confess the truthfulness of this, Christians would have to admit that what they believe is both logically incoherent and existentially unappealing.  Cowards allow the little ones to be harmed.  The morally righteous and strong of heart protect and defend them.

There are always the pretensions of scholarship that distract us from the main points.

I personally would feel better if I, uniquely, had a gun in hand to use against the perpetrator. But I would not prefer a situation in which everyone was carrying guns, all the time, and ready to open fire on anyone who looked threatening. Or even if a lot more people were doing so. Thus for me, a “more guns” policy fails the categorical imperative test. It’s better for me if I do it, worse for us all if everyone does it.

Not a single second amendment defender is advocating that “everyone” carry guns, or that we “fire on anyone who looked threatening.”  The author (James Fallows) has erected a straw man to cloud his moral failure, and I’m not impressed by the invocation of Kant.  This man would allow his children to be killed by assailants rather than defend them, or if he did defend them out of reflex, he would choose in the detached, unemotional comfort of his home to give himself a low probability of dealing with the assailant.  Thus, he is voluntarily choosing (by high probability) to perish, along with his children.

This is both cowardly and immoral.  And even if it’s the bohemian hippie position, it’s most certainly not the Christian position.


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