Friday, October 02, 2009

Pass the Ammuniton Indeed

Diana Butler Bass is angry. She is also Episcopalian. The mix of the two is generally idiotic in hilarious ways, and this is no exception.

This week, a friend sent me a link to a video from Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas titled “Taking the Hill.” I thought it might be a political video encouraging conservative Christians to go to Washington to lobby against health care or some such thing.

Because most conservative Christians actively lobby against health care, as a concept. Good assumption, Diana.

Actually, it was much worse. “Taking the Hill” is a bizarre call to evangelize depicting Christians as “soldiers” in a war for souls under their “real” commander-in-chief, Jesus.

Which, when you have Barack Obama, who needs Jesus? At any rate, Diana doesn't like this analogy so much as she probably did about 9 months ago...

It reveals almost pornographic-religious obsession with guns and violence that should be deeply disturbing for any faith community.

Why are pornographic and religious hyphenated together? Why is it necessary to throw the word "pornographic" in here at all?

The “Taking the Hill” campaign was launched last month at the seminary. According the September 17 edition of The Baptist Press, President Paige Patterson kicked off the project:

Note. DBB is an Episcopalian, not a Baptist.

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Dressed in camouflage and stationed as the gunner in a Chenowth Desert Fast Attack Vehicle, Paige Patterson stormed onto the chapel stage.

Okay, that's pretty stupid. Pornographic? No.

… Patterson lifted his Bible, pointing out that God has armed believers with His Word, along with prayer and proclamation.

So he was drawing an analogy. Not unheard of.

Then, reading 2 Corinthians 5, he urged believers to testify to the Gospel of Christ, reminding them of Paul’s motivation: the “terror of the Lord,” the righteous judge of all men and women, and the “love of Christ,” who died to save all who believe.

So, after the military nonsense, he preached the word. Seems reasonable.

… Lifting his left hand, Patterson saw that it was covered with blood — the blood of a woman who died without hearing the Gospel although she lived less than a mile from the seminary.

The military thing makes much more sense now, for anyone who is actually a Christian.

His right hand was covered with the blood of a man who took his own life because Patterson did not witness to him at God’s prompting.

I'm beginning to respect this bit of theater, actually.

I know that it is a free country, and that we have both religious freedom and certain rights to own guns.

But the hell with all that.

But when these two rights interweave — as they are doing — it is dangerous to both church and state.

So, DBB is comfortable in a country that either allows freedom of religion or the right to bear arms, but not both?

Any church that advances such a crusading and violent vision is far from its founder’s vision, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.”

Except for the part where Jesus said he was a sword. I mean, I know Episcopalians aren't really into the whole pornographic-Bible thing, but since we're on the topic of, you know, the Bible.

And the state that fails to understand that people with guns who believe that God has armed them are dangerous isn’t serving the good of a peaceable society.

So, what do we conclude? That the state should take away guns, but only from those who believe in God? What's the plan of action in response to this display? Vote for Obama even harder next time?

Although weapons and religion may have been natural partners in the Middle Ages or on the American frontier, isn’t it time to recognize that we live in the twenty-first century?

Good point. We should also carry Bazookas. I know, that's not her point. Her point is that, for whatever reason, guns have somehow, through the trespass of time, become uncivil. I find this point banal, and so do most people. As such, she'll need to arm herself with a better argument.

Guns and grace don’t go together.

Bullshit. If I shoot a man who is attempting to rape a woman, I am applying God's grace to the woman. This is but one example, setting aside the whole issue of hunting animals, which says nothing of the question of grace.

Shouldn’t true religion — genuinely transformative faith — call God’s people away from violence and toward passionate peacemaking?

What does this have to do with the seminary thing? The pastor was arguing that we are in a war for people's souls. What does pornography have to do with this? What do gun rights have to do with this? What are the action steps here?

This is the sort of abysmal thinking that has brought the Episcopalian church to it's present state.


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