Rob Schenck, an evangelical minister to the Washington elites, recently wrote an article for the Washington Post titled, “I am an Evangelical Preacher. You Can’t Be Pro-Life and Pro-Gun.”
He didn’t actually present any evidence to prove that those who claim to be pro-life must embrace, unequivocally, an anti-gun position, or be in direct contrast to the idea of sanctity of life. It was obvious throughout that his attempts to validate his feelings were of the highest priority. Evidence and truth were just inconveniences that could be twisted and contorted to make sense of his illogical, emotional positions.
Rob resorted to all the usual tools utilized by those on the anti-Christian left – character assassination, willful misinterpretation of scripture, and name-calling – who are looking to shut down conversation. Showing that he obviously doesn’t wish to encourage reasonable debate, but rather seems to want to stir up strife to validate his feelings on the subject.
Rob claims he used to be “pro-gun,” but converted.
Rob says that for most of his life he believed “anyone should be able to obtain a gun,” but now “disagree[s] with [his] community’s wholesale embrace of the idea that anyone should be able to buy a gun.”
Apparently I missed the NRA video where Dana Loesch was appalled that her 2-year old was denied the right to purchase a Glock 19, or Rand Paul’s sponsoring of the “Violent Felons with a History of Pedophilia Gun-Rights Protection Act.” I guess “Take Your Deranged, Psychotic, Instituted Cousin to Buy a Gun Day” just zipped right past me.
Or, maybe Rob’s claim is just a little bit inconsistent with the actual position of Christian gun-rights advocates. Maybe he didn’t actually ever believe “anyone” should be able to get a gun, because that would be idiotic. Maybe the Christian gun-rights community isn’t full of dumb hicks that think everyone should be allowed to buy a gun.
Well, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume he was a complete moron and not a liar. Let’s entertain the idea that at one point in his life Rob was actually an advocate for the right to bear arms, but he just had slightly radical views.
What changed his mind? What new information meant he was wrong about the morality of gun ownership?
Rob says, “in Pennsylvania, I visited the families of five murdered Amish schoolgirls, as well as the family of the shooter. And I watched as a mass shooting unfolded at the Washington Navy Yard…” In standard anti-gun fashion, Rob has illustrated that his stance on guns changed due to emotions. Not evidence. Not facts. Just feelings. He leaves out the fact that both of the incidents he described occurred in gun-free zones. Not even military personnel are allowed to carry their firearms around the Navy Yard. And the Amish are pacifists who don’t believe in the use of guns, which is particularly ironic considering he’s arguing for a pacifist position.
If a civilian or military personnel were allowed to carry a concealed firearm at the Navy Yard or in the Amish community, these actions may have been stopped much sooner. Instead, they were made to wait for authorities to do the dirty work. So, pushing for all Christians to give up their guns would most likely not have prevented either of these tragedies, nor the many others we’ve seen spread all over the news. Christian concealed carrying may have, but not Christians giving up their guns.
These facts were conveniently left out by Rob because, well, these facts don’t help the feelings narrative.
Rob’s complete disregard for the actual meaning of scripture is astounding.
“Although he once allowed his disciples to defend themselves with ‘a sword,’ that permission came with a limitation on the number of weapons they could possess,” Rob explained. This is a reference to Jesus telling his disciples they should sell their cloak and buy a sword if they don’t have one because people are going to try to kill them.
Jesus’ response to the disciples when they told him they had two swords was, “That’s enough!” This could have been taken two ways: (1) sarcastically, as in “of course that’s enough;” (2) literally, as in “that should be good.” Neither of these interpretations even come close to the one given by Rob: that Jesus limits the amount of weapons someone is morally allowed to own or carry. In no sane person’s mind could this be perceived as Jesus telling his disciples it wasn’t morally ethical to carry any weapons, the position Rob has taken on the carrying of a firearm.
In reality, the recognition of Jesus allowing his disciples to carry swords, although brushed over as meaningless by Rob, is actually very important. This scripture makes it very evident that Jesus advised them to carry swords. Meaning he didn’t do the opposite, tell them not to carry swords.
It’s very simple to understand, but also a very inconvenient piece of scripture for Christian gun control advocates. This is something even Rob himself doesn’t deny. I don’t know why he stopped at saying Jesus morally limited a group of twelve to only have 2 swords, which is completely dishonest, but even Rob stopped there. Even Rob wasn’t willing to say that Jesus told the disciples to not carry a defensive weapon. Also, the sword was one of the most advanced pieces of weaponry of that time. It would be equivalent to, or greater than, today’s AR-15 that is so regularly demonized, or any handgun for that matter.
Rob’s next misrepresentation is the analysis he gives for the scripture, “bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” He says, this voids the use of a weapon as a morally justifiable means of self-defense. He explains that agreeing with comments of political figures who encourage self-defense with a gun, as a good method for stopping massacres and murderers, is not in line with said scripture.
Believing his interpretation of this particular scripture would most definitely exclude any type of self-defense that could result in the possible injury or death of the assailant as being a moral act. If we’re going to use a pure, literal interpretation, and not look at the individual circumstances like suggested by Exodus 22:2-3 (which he also brings up), a woman fighting off a man raping her must also be subject to these words.
Would she be considered going against the will of God if she were to injure or cause the death of her assailant? Would having the mindset that she’s willing to use her hands to take a life in defense of her own, in such a case as above, be anti-life? How would carrying a firearm, while holding the same viewpoint or mindset in such a case as this, magically make her intentions evil? Would a knife make her intentions evil? A ball-point pen?
The use of this scripture, by Rob’s interpretation, would inevitably lead us to an even more radical conclusion. The conclusion that police officers – who carry a gun, in combination with the mindset he described – must be acting contrary to the Word of God. You see, there must be something else, besides a firearm, that determines the morality of the specific circumstances surrounding someone’s actions with said firearm. The willingness to kill in self-defense and the carrying of a weapon is obviously not the determining factor.
Rob then referenced Exodus 22:2-3, which reads, “If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed.” He claims this verse to be an example of God “strictly limit[ing] the use of deadly force.”
This is not a horribly inaccurate interpretation of the verses above. But, I would definitely add that it also infers that God believes it is sometimes allowable or permissible to be willing to kill. This is state of mind that Rob presents to his readers as being incompatible with the Word of God. Rob ignored this, again, because it doesn’t fit the narrative.
What’s interesting about this scripture in particular is that it actually disproves his narrative. Hell, he would have been better off trying to convince his skeptics that this verse implies that God deems every case of self-defense during the day to be inherently evil – because, you know, light and what not.
Rob believes his “pro-gun” friends must be either really stupid, or morally unsound.
Seemingly unsatisfied with butchering the Word of God in order to support his political ideology, he then took it upon himself to explain that some of God’s people are too stupid to recognize that killing can be murder. He infers that Christian gun owners don’t understand that there are moral “limit[s] to the use of deadly force.” This is an astoundingly insulting theory assuming gun owners are either too dumb to differentiate between murder and self-defense, or just flat out refuse to acknowledge that it is not always right to shoot someone who has wronged you. He, once again, is pushing the narrative that gun-rights advocates are just crazy nut-jobs, looking to shoot someone for the smallest of aggressions, using their firearm as the sole means for conflict resolution.
Rob’s insulting accusations and labeling don’t stop there. He says Christian gun-rights advocates “jump on a secular bandwagon of fear mongering, contempt, and bravado to gin up support for gun rights,” and finishes his article by stating (I’m sure out of love and compassion for his fellow brothers in Christ), “we must turn away from our…prejudices, and turn toward the example of Jesus….” Because, as we all know, gun-owners are a bunch of bigots who carry guns due to their fear of those with darker skin tones. They’re just a bunch of prejudice, phobic morons.
With what evidence were these strongly worded, labels being assigned? Well, they seem to be based off a few pronouncements from politicians:
(1) Sarah Palin said,“Nowadays, ammo is expensive. Don’t waste a bullet on a warning shot.” Oh, dear Lord. How dare she make a joke. Everyone needs to stop with the fake outrage at every joke made about a serious matter. It’s a joke! Even if he considers the joke distasteful, it is not in anyway helpful to his argument that Christians should no longer carry a firearm for self-defense. Although, if we’re going to take it seriously, her advice to not “waste a bullet on a warning shot” is actually very logical. Firing a warning shot is dangerous to those around you – your neighbors, your family, your friends, etc. And it’s kind of pointless.
(2) Ted Cruz stating, “You don’t get rid of the bad guys by getting rid of our guns. You get rid of the bad guys by using our guns.” Okay? And? I fail to see how it makes us inimical towards others to state obvious realities. Morally sound individuals who carry firearms are an asset in a mass shooting situation, an attempted rape, or a robbery. That’s a self-evident truth. Would it also be controversial to state that “you don’t get rid of the bad guys by ridding of police departments, you get rid of the bad guys by having police departments?” Rob’s argument that “we are all bad guys sometimes” is true, but shows an elementary understanding of how the world works, and our place in it as Christians.
(3) Rob tells us Jerry Falwell, “joked about…and made light of killing Muslims. ([Falwell] later said he meant only Muslim terrorists, but his comments received lots of whoops and applause.)” Now, first of all, pointing out Falwell “making light” is a laughable argument. Are we really supposed to assume Rob would not have said a single word about Falwell’s comments if he had taken a more serious tone. Also, how is the crowd’s applause of taking out a suspect in the middle of slaughtered countless innocent young men and women a negative? Do you not believe we should root for the end to massacre? Should we not root for an end to the life of a radical jihadist, when it is the only solution to the problem? Or is that only allowable at nighttime – because, you know, the lack of light and what not?
Rob doesn’t have any evidence that you’re an Islamaphobe. He doesn’t have any substantial scriptural evidence for your moral depravity, excluding his intentionally deceptive interpretations. And his examples of fear-mongering, contempt and bravado are greatly lacking.
Rob just assumes all of these things…because feelings!