As the gun control debate rages in America following the abominable events in Newtown, eventually, perhaps inevitably, the media will ask itself, "What would Jesus do?"
They've done it for years as it relates to wealth redistribution and Obamacare. Obama gave an entire speech about taxes in which he used Jesus for his justification. I'd wager that the tactic is designed to hit God fearing southerners where, in keeping with the caricature that the media has created of them, they are most likely to submit without question and accept the answer given to them by their betters.
Of course this vastly underestimates the target, but putting that aside, is there any truth to the idea that Jesus would deplore a concealed carry license or a mom defending her children from an intruder? After all, Jesus has some pretty radically pacifist quotes that need only be lifted from the Bible without context to sound convincing.
Such has been the case on Twitter where I've already more than once been the victim of "well meaning" gun control advocates who simply want me to be as "peaceful as Jesus."
Virtually without fail, they point to Matthew 5:39:
But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
"Jesus' statement here has to do with vengeance and retribution, not with self-defense," says Dr. Thomas Howe, Professor of Bible & Biblical Languages at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC. "You should defend yourself, but you should not attempt to exact retribution upon those who do evil against you," Howe says.
In fact, Jesus' comments on not resisting evil are a clarification of the Old Testament command, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." That command was directed at legal authorities yet had over the years become a justification for revenge by individuals. For many people, and eye for an eye became an opportunity to wrong someone who had wronged them. Within this context, Jesus' illustrations, none of which have anything to do with a potentially fatal attack, provide new instruction.
As Howe puts it, "You cannot turn the other cheek if you have been killed in the initial attack. Jesus' commands and illustrations do not concern self-defense against potentially fatal attacks. [His words] cannot refer to
defending your life since it is ridiculous to tell someone to leave
punishment up to God if that person has been killed in the crime. Instead, these illustrations have to do with mistreatment or being defrauded."
Then of course there's Matthew 26:52:
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Again, the context here is what is important. Jesus, about to be arrested and taken for his inevitable execution, is intervening with Peter who had taken up arms to defend his Teacher. His caution is an attempt to stay Peter's hand who would surely have died defending Jesus against an unchangeable destiny. Peter need not live by the sword, he must live by the Word.
Perhaps some people must live by the sword, but that means they will die by the sword. Jesus never says that living and dying by the sword was wrong, he simply stated the fact. Beyond that fact is the interpretation of those who wish to use it for their own purposes.
But of course, this information does nothing to persuade the anti-gun sentiment. No amount of factual data can change this embedded ideological position. Not even statistics & evidence that their stated objective, the safety of the public, is not helped by their efforts.
It has long been the position of 2nd Amendment advocates that gun control works against the public safety in that it leaves the law abiding citizen defenseless even as the criminal, unencumbered by a desire to follow the law, has the same weaponry and intent that he had irrespective of gun control.
Put in a modern context, if Adam Lanza was intent on committing ungodly acts against our most vulnerable citizens, no laws were going to restrain him. This often causes the gun control advocate to change their position from "prevent crime" to "lessen crime." In other words, perhaps he still would've gone into Sandy Hook to commit the crime, but had his mother not been allowed to own an AR-15 then perhaps the death toll would have been smaller.
I'm certainly not against trying to lessen the devastating impact of an inevitable event. Once we go to war for instance, death becomes a foregone conclusion. However, that does not and should not prevent us from exploring ways to minimize casualties without sacrificing our objectives.
However, it remains a fact that some of the most gun controlled areas in America maintain high crime rates, and areas with more freedom to own a gun have a lower crime rate. This is an indisputable fact that often causes panic in the opposition. It defies what is "obvious" to them and thus they enter a state of complete denial and begin making claims that those who are pro-2nd amendment are somehow indifferent to the deaths of children.
There is simply no evidence that crime in general, whether the number of crimes or the extent of devastation, would be lessened by eliminating certain currently legal guns. Despite the absurd comparison that gun control advocates make to enforce their point, such as pointing to the illegality of personal tanks and rocket launchers, they often fail to understand the very weapons that they are hoping to ban.
"First and foremost there is no such thing as an 'assault weapon,'” says radio host and CNN contributor Dana Loesch on her blog this weekend. "There exist fully automatic firearms and semi automatic firearms, period." Dana goes on to point out that "assault rifle," the description often used to describe weapons used in the Sandy Hook attack, technically doesn't exist either, saying the term is a Nazi invention. "[The] Nazi invention (Sturmgewehr) fully named Sturmgewehr 44, and is regarded as the first “assault” rifle. Firearms which shared the technical characteristics of Hitler’s rifle were casually defined with this sobriquet and it grew over time."
So not only is gun control philosophically inconsistent with the teachings of arguably the most influential Teacher in the history of civilization, but the agents of misinformation that are pushing forth that narrative are woefully uniformed on the subject.
"Even the weapons in Adam Lanza's possession aren't being described correctly," Loesch says. "Anyone claiming that it was [an assault rifle] is insisting that Lanza’s weapon was a military-grade rifle capable of selective fire, meaning, it has the giggle-switch to kick it from semi-automatic to fully automatic. I’ve shot so-called 'assault rifles' and I own semi-automatics. They are not the same."
The gun control proponent becomes quite unhinged at the notion when challenged on these facts. Observe for instance, Ben Shapiro, author of the recently released book Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans, who very calmly & rationally obliterates Piers Morgan, television commentator hailing from Great Britain and self-appointed General Cornwallis, bent on repeating the disarming of America that had failed so miserably 200 years ago.
As Shapiro points out multiple times in the interview, the philosophically consistent position of the anti-gun advocate is to ban all firearms. The vast majority of crime is not committed with the so-called "assault rifles," it is committed with handguns. If the concern is ending that type of crime through banning, then perhaps the left should reflect on why they would stop at these more powerful weapons.
Gun control proponents need to stop hiding behind Jesus, who very clearly was not advocating for or against a disarmed public (some would argue he was a proponent of concealed carry given that his desire for his disciples to carry swords was even more important to Him than His desire for them to have clothes as seen in Luke 22:36).
They need to stop hiding behind scary names like "assault weapons" since "assault" is an action, not a weapon, and that action requires a human operator.
Gun control advocates claim they want an honest debate, but that won't happen until they admit what they're really after: full violation of the 2nd amendment and an end to gun ownership in America.
Of course, we can't allow that to happen because, as one person on twitter put it, "Without the 2nd Amendment, the Constitution is just a wishlist."