I suppose to exploit Easter, a local editorial writer asked “Would Jesus Reject Firearms?” Considering Jesus “a mix of fact and fiction, myth and legend,” but apparently knowing his fictional Jesus’ mind, he concludes: “Jesus would certainly counsel us to reject guns, embrace nonviolence and turn the other cheek. Thus, can a citizen’s decision to carry guns be compatible with any sincere belief in Jesus?”
I will follow the example of the Master, and, instead, pose him a question in return.
And, young lady readers, with May and June around the corner, MJM concludes with advice for you brides-to-be!
Would Jesus sit idly by and watch his wife and children tortured and murdered by a home invader?
First, note the editorial writer’s tiring, implied accusation of “Hypocrite!” leveled at any person who both goes armed, and professes belief in Christ. Rather than writing a serious discussion of when—if ever—violence is justified, even in self-defense, we get the writer’s self-righteous rebuke.
However, to the extent that the writer raises the absolute pacifist argument, on Easter, I address the argument that he makes, all while he backs away from just out-and-out saying what he means—that following Christ demands 100% rejection of violence, regardless of the circumstances. I challenge, instead, with this question: Would Jesus sit idly by and watch his wife and children tortured and murdered by a home invader?
The issue is not owning or carrying a gun. The issue is preparing to resort to violence as the lawful, desperate, and necessary means of saving yourself, or another person. There is a principled argument to be made for absolute pacifism. However, most who claim to be pacifists, or “peaceful” or “non-violent” have never thought through the issue enough to arrive at that principled argument. Instead, some—like our local writer here—adopt a hybrid between pretending they would never need to defend anyone, and smug superiority. Then, they preach their belief to others as “gospel” and exploit political power to force us to comply with what they see as their morally superior world view. But, for those few who intentionally wrestle with whether they would ever kill another human being, I respect their conclusions–so long as they are honest about the ramifications. Each should have the freedom to take up arms in self-defense, or to go defenseless, according to his own conscience. (Conscientious objection during a wartime draft raises an additional issue.)
So, would Jesus permit a home invasion team into the living room to beat, rape, torture and murder His family?
I do not presume to know the mind of Jesus more than He has given to me to know, and He just hasn’t been talking with me about that. But, He did give me a family to protect.
So, I will add this admonition for the writer, and for any man, in the interest of full disclosure:
If you are a committed absolute pacifist contemplating marriage, I think you owe it to your prospective bride to tell her in advance that you would not defend her, not protect her, not kill for her, and would permit your children to be kidnapped or killed before you would lift a hand against a criminal.