The Very Reverend Barkley Thompson On Gun Control

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 2 months ago

Houston Chronicle:

I own guns. I am a bird hunter, and I own shotguns for that purpose. I also own a single-action, six-shot revolver loaded with shotshells as protection against poisonous snakes on our small piece of land in the country, where copperheads are as common as mosquitoes. My father taught me to shoot guns responsibly before I was a teenager. I am teaching my kids to do the same.

I am also, like so many, appalled at the gun violence endemic in our country, violence amplified this past week by the on-air murder of two journalists …

Those opposed to any gun control claim that guns, as inanimate objects, don’t kill people. If one maintains that logic, then neither do automobiles kill people. But we regulate automobiles so law-abiding citizens are able to utilize them safely and not in ways that are likely to maim and kill. (As the father of a son approaching driving age, I’m particularly thankful for that.)

“And yet, driving is not a constitutional right, whereas gun ownership is,” some will say. Indeed, in recent Supreme Court decisions District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, the Court ruled that United States citizens have, under the Second Amendment, just such a right to own handguns in addition to long guns (like shotguns and rifles). Though I am a priest and certainly not a legal scholar, I was raised by a mother who is an English teacher, and I would argue that in its recent rulings the Supreme Court failed the grammar lesson.

[ … ]

Today, our militias consist of professional National Guards, not local Minute Men with a musket above the mantel. The right to bear arms is predicated (literally, grammatically) on a social institution that no longer exists.

[ … ]

As I said at the outset, I am a gun owner who keeps and uses specific kinds of firearms for the intentions for which they were constructed. That said, on the topic of gun violence, statistical and anecdotal evidence coincide. We indeed have a festering societal problem, and as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, I say we have moral problem. At least for those who follow the God of Jesus, a God whose vision for the world is that we “beat swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4), the gun violence in our country is a symptom of soul sickness. Something must be done to stem the tide, and an unfettered access to guns is no better solution than attempting to put out a fire with gasoline.

[ … ]

Why do we wish to own guns? Hunting, sporting, and home and/or personal protection seem to me to be the legitimate answers to the question. The guns I own are exactly adequate to those uses. (If I were a deer hunter, I would also own a deer rifle.) What is unneeded for any of these purposes is an assault rifle, or even a semi-automatic pistol with a high capacity magazine. Such weapons are designed for the sole and express purpose of incapacitating many people quickly, which is, lamentably in our broken world, the sometime responsibility of law enforcement and the military. It is virtually never — even in a home invasion situation — a circumstance legitimately faced by private citizens.

Personally, I favor prohibiting private ownership (not only sales) of assault rifles and other military-grade firearms and at least prohibiting sales of semi-automatic pistols with high capacity magazines.

To begin with Mr. Thompson, I consider your title to be preening and honorific rather than Biblical and pointing towards your responsibilities.  “Teaching elder” would do much better, but if you prefer to preen and your flock allows it, that says as much about them as it does you.

Next, I do have a number of questions for you.

First of all, I notice that you turn to a number of quotes from Supreme Court justices rather than time-honored and well-grounded Biblical exegesis concerning the duty of self defense (let’s dismiss your silly citation of Isaiah since this refers to the eschaton, and instead focus on Biblical scholarship).  Why is that?  Why would you prefer to refer to the opinions of man rather than of God?

Second, since it’s just a feasible to commit suicide with a shotgun, bolt action rifle or single shot revolver as it is with a semiautomatic pistol, do you see suicide from the aforementioned weapons to be acceptable and even preferable to those from the later?  Said another way, I’m going to go out on a limb and unequivocally state that no one has ever put the barrel of a single shot gun in his mount, pulled the trigger, and then done it again for good measure, as if having a semiautomatic would have made the job easier.

Third, why does an alleged teacher of the Bible diagnose a moral ailment and turn to the state for a solution rather than the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His salvific work on the cross?  Where in Scripture does it tell you that the state is a solution to the moral ailments of mankind?

Fourth, you say you want peace, but I assume you know that we won’t turn in our weapons peaceably.  So are you prepared for the SWAT team deaths in front yards all across America if the state follows your advice and outlaws semiautomatic firearms?  Are you prepared for blood running in the streets because of the civil war you want to start?

Fifth, you claim knowledge of home invasions and what it takes to repel them and save your family.  Has your home ever been invaded by a gang of armed criminals?

Finally, I notice that you don’t call for the disarming of police.  Have you ever read Dietrich Bonhoeffer?  What would you have done if the secret police had come for your peaceable neighbors in the middle of the night?  Would you have preferred to stick with your honorific title, “Very Reverend,” or would you have stood in the gap for the those who could not defend themselves?  What would you have done?  What will you do?  Who or what is your inspiration and from whence to you get your courage?

These are hard questions sir.  Think just as hard to answer them.  Bath your thoughts in prayer.  Turn to the Scriptures instead of the state.  Forsake worship of Baal and realize that men can never be the solution to the moral ailments that mankind created for himself.


Comments

  1. On September 13, 2015 at 9:29 pm, Backwoods Engineer said:

    Right on. Great response.

  2. On September 14, 2015 at 4:33 am, DAN III said:

    Thompson is a collectivist, a statist. He is a Roman Catholic priest. There goes his mentality. He is most likely a working supporter of the invasion of fUSA. But, I digress.

    There is no argument one can make opposing his views. He is well indoctrinated with the terminology and ideology of the anti-constitutionists, the .gov and their growing legions of Marxists. He justifies his argument by declaring he owns a firearm or two. Thus, in his mind, he can declare those firearms he chooses to declare verboten, not to be owned by the citizenry. What he refuses to address is the fact that 2A is not about hunting critters, fowl or vermin. Rather, 2A is
    there to give “the people” some semblance of defense AND offense against the increasing tyranny of those we call government, two-legged vermin.

    Of course he fails, refuses actually, to address weapons the badged thugs may own bit, the common citizen cannot. But that is fine with him. He is a statist supported by the media, in this case the Houston Chronicle.

    Ultimately, the only solution to those who substitute Freedom and Liberty with support for, and outright tyranny, are a short rope and a tall tree.

  3. On September 14, 2015 at 8:03 am, Frank Clarke said:

    Aside: Thompson is an Episcopal priest. A Roman Catholic priest probably would not publicize the fact that he has a son. Other than that, right on.

  4. On September 16, 2015 at 12:20 pm, DAN III said:

    Thanks Frank.

  5. On September 14, 2015 at 1:10 pm, John Paul Mattei said:

    Marvelous, the response ,fairly and intellectually puts the VERY REVEREND, (so written with sadness and laughter, in his convoluted place.
    Seems that critical and logical thinking needs to be taught to many of the progressive liberals and media. Qusrion is, can this be accomplished?

  6. On September 14, 2015 at 2:41 pm, Archer said:

    It’s well-understood that “The State” is a product of Man, while The Word is a product of God.

    If the “Very Reverend” is going to call upon God’s Word to support The State against the rights of his fellow men (and therefore, against God), he needs to read up on The Word.

    Might I suggest that, if he’s not willing to follow Herschel’s analysis, he start in the book of Jeremiah:

    5 Thus says the Lord:
    “Cursed is the man who trusts in man
    And makes flesh his strength,
    Whose heart departs from the Lord.
    6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
    And shall not see when good comes,
    But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
    In a salt land which is not inhabited.

    7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
    And whose hope is the Lord.
    8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
    Which spreads out its roots by the river,
    And will not fear[b] when heat comes;
    But its leaf will be green,
    And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
    Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

    (Jeremiah 17:5-8, New King James Version)

    And follow with Joshua:

    15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

    (Joshua 24:15, New King James Version)

  7. On September 14, 2015 at 3:19 pm, Joseph P. Martino said:

    “I’m going to go out on a limb and unequivocally state that no one has ever put the barrel of a single shot gun in his mount, pulled the trigger, and then done it again for good measure, as if having a semiautomatic would have made the job easier.”
    Well, not exactly a single shot, but a friend of mine did put the muzzle of a .22 semi-auto in his mouth, shoot himself in the head once, then having failed to die that time, shot himself again. However, I grant you that’s probably a rate occurrence.

  8. On September 14, 2015 at 8:08 pm, AuricTech LIC said:

    How about we try this word substitution:

    “A well-balanced breakfast, being necessary for the maintenance of a farmer’s health, the right of the people to cook and eat food shall not be infringed.”

    Would the Mildly Reverend Barkely Thompson interpret this to mean that only breakfast is covered by this hypothetical right? Or that only farmers have a right to cook and eat food? Perhaps he would claim that, since growing food is now largely a corporate enterprise, individuals have no need to do so, and therefore arbitrary limits can and should be imposed on their right to do so.

    There does seem to be a failure to grasp simple grammar involved in his screed. The failure was not on the part of the Supreme Court.

  9. On September 17, 2015 at 2:54 am, will_ford said:

    I read this the other day this DICK WITH EARS NEEDS TO BE STRIPPED OF 2ND AMEND. RIghts

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