Friday, January 29, 2010

Happiness Is...

I keep running across stories that have to do with Christianity and firearms. I have always had a sincere problem with that combination. "Onward Christian Soldiers", praying for victory over our enemies, even "God Bless America" simply sit funny with me. There's plenty of that in the Bible of course, but most of it is in the Hebrew Scriptures.

If we stop to pay attention to the fact that Jesus did an awful lot of teaching between His birth and His resurrection, we'll see that Jesus told us to bless our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, not pray for their downfall. Jesus told us that if we are struck on one cheek, we're to present the other as well.

On the other hand, my father was Navy. I have every respect for our brothers and sisters in the armed forces and I pray for their safe return. I sincerely hope that Trijicon Inc. was acting in that spirit when they decided that it was a good idea to print Bible verses on rifle scopes sold to the US military. Considering that the verses in question included 2 Corinthians 4:6 and John 8:12, it could be that was what they were aiming for. Unfortunately, those verses could also be interpreted as proof that the United States is engaged in a crusade against Islam.

I'd never thought about it that way before, but this is another very good reason to pay attention to the separation of Church and State. I've always said that separation of Church and State is of the utmost importance because it is what allows us to have the freedom to worship where and how we please. It is because of the separation of Church and State that we can print Bible verses on things without worrying about what the government has to say about it. For some reason some Christians seem incensed that the separation of Church and State also allows Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca, etc, etc, etc, the very same freedoms. As a patriotic citizen of the United States of America, I say that this freedom of religion is one of the very best things about our country. And as the Muslim Public Affairs Council put it, "Allowing religious references to be placed on U.S. weaponry, which are bought and paid for by U.S. taxpayers, is unacceptable."

The other piece of news that relates to how religion and firearms shouldn't mix is the case of Scott Roeder. For those of you who missed it, or don't recognize the name, Scott Roeder is the man who walked into the morning worship service at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita and shot one of the ushers, George Richard Tiller, MD, in the head at point blank range with a handgun. George Tiller was the medical director of Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, one of only three nationwide which provided abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy. Scott Roeder was quickly arrested and confessed to the murder, which he claimed was justified, "Because of the fact preborn children's lives were in imminent danger..."

I suppose you can guess where religion comes into all this, Scott Roeder considers himself a member of the Army of God (USA) and claims the Bible as a major influence in his life. I have a huge, huge problem with this! Where does love God, love your neighbor, love yourself—the two greatest commandments and the basis for all of the Law and the Prophets—come into the decision to walk into a church and shoot a man in the head? How can you argue that every life is sacred, therefore I'm allowed to take one? Even if you're right about abortion, vengeance belongs to the Lord, not extremists with handguns.

Well, District Judge Warren Wilbert ruled on Thursday that "Scott Roeder's lawyers failed to show that Dr. George Tiller posed an imminent threat and therefore will not be allowed to ask jurors to consider a voluntary manslaughter charge..." So I guess the court is coming down in a similar place concerning whether or not the killing was "justifiable."

For my part, I'll try to take my own advice and not judge the man. And I promise that I won't shoot anybody in the name of Christianity. It would be pretty hypocritical of me.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's Tab again....I really love, Love, LOVE this blog post. I was in a discussion about this the other day with someone. For the record, I am pro-life, BUT I just can't understand saying all life is precious and then taking anothers life. Since when did we become God? Since when are we supposed to be the ones who pass judgement on others? Anywho...great blog!