August 22, 2007

Just tired of stupidity (Obscenity alert)

Maybe it is just the fatigue of the first week of class. I am tired and easily annoyed, and I recognize that. But Tony's post on this idiot pastor wanting armed congregants just pushed me over the edge. Tony is equally annoyed, I think, but as usual, nicer than me.

I am just tired of stupid people saying really, really, REALLY stupid stuff. And too often lately, they have been in a pastoral situation. First Wiley Drake's petulant childish bizarre theology aimed at someone who dared criticize him and call him on his actions. In response he asks God to fucking kill them! I am still stunned by this.

Then Tony notes this guy who says that Congregations should be filled with guns. Not necessarily to shoot, but to show to criminals who, he says, are all cowards and will run from the gun. Because more guns always makes us safer. Because no escalation has ever happened when one person tries violence and is met with violence. Because when you have guns around, no one innocent has ever been shot by well-meaning people.

I am not expecting all pastors to be rocket scientists, nor am I expecting even a depth of theology for all. But is it too much to ask for a modicum of common sense? Forget gun control, these two make me want to push for "preacher control" where you have to pass a basic psychological competency to get a license to Preach.

But that--unlike asking God to kill someone--would be ridiculous.


ubub said...

I think it was somewhere in the Bible where it says "Kill 'em all 'n let God sort 'em out. Git 'er done. Yee ha." Amen.

Tony said...


I think you are quoting from the new Redneck Bible. You can pick one up at your nearest LifeWay Store next to the Soldier's Bible, The Police Officer's Bible, and the Fireman's Bible. For a nominal fee you can get the flannel Bible cover.


You're right--I was too nice. I REALLY held back on that post. I would be interested to hear a response from steve s, if he is reading. He is pro-gun and the pastor is from his denomination.

ubub said...

Police Officer's Bible? Say it ain't so, Tony! I can just imagine -- "On the night he was arrested, the Romans said unto Jesus, 'Thou hast the right to remain silent. Shouldst thou forsake thine right to remain silent, I say unto you that ye shall be smited verily.'"

leighton said...

I'd hate to see even a benevolent government making restrictions on who can be appointed to private-ish leadership positions, though I know you were probably joking about that.

But there's no denying that stupidity of that caliber is a serious moral failing. Things like this have convinced me that sincerity isn't a virtue; it's social hygiene. You worry when it's missing, but ignore it when it's there. I hope that in the future, the "...but at least he honestly believes what he says" defense will look as silly as "He may be a total asshole, but he showers every day."

Honestly not knowing better isn't an excuse when your job requires you to know better.

steve s said...

I commented over on Tony's blog. I may have been a little harsh, but obviously this is a topic that is important to me. The pastor of my church is pro-gun, but I can't see him making the same speech. I think he did so in a bad way.

ubub said...

He did it "in a bad way." Is there a good way to endorse packin' in the pews? Maybe you quote the Redneck Bible that Tony mentions in the chapter where Jesus said, "Stop or my Dad will shoot." Onward Christian soliders, indeed.

Streak said...

I commented over at Tony's blog too, and I was probably a little overly harsh there as well. I must say, I understand liking guns and shooting and hunting. I have no problem with that. I have a little problem with a pastor advocating shooting other human beings. I am tryign to imagine Jesus suggesting that.

On this, I am with ubub. I don't see a good way to suggest turning a sanctuary into a gun club.

steve s said...

When I carry, I don't advertise that I am doing so. Is self-defense unbiblical? I realize that Jesus doesn't advocate murder, but does he forbid self-defense? Does he promise that a church will be a safe place?

Streak said...

What is the "advertise" in reference to? I am not following that.

Obviously, I am not a theologian. I am simply reminded of the historical transition in America going from British common law where a person had to take effort to remove themselves from physical danger and could respond only when that didn't work, to the American version where the very hint of threat is seen by some as a justification of deadly force.

I am certainly not advocating just letting people shoot me, but as I noted over at Tony's blog, you are presenting a false-opposition here--as if those of us who dare suggest gun control don't want to protect ourselves or others.

And finally, I have no clue what you are talking about with the church. Of course. jesus is not a magical protection and the church can be a dangerous place. I have no clue what you are suggesting, though it sounds suspiciously like you want the right and option to "pack heat" to the communion table. Sanctuary, as I noted over there, means a place of safety. It isn't an armed compound.

ubub said...

If deterent is the ultimate goal, advertising might be a good alternative to concealed carry. Why not openly wear a gun on your hip if show of force is a deterrent?

I have changed my mind on this. Carrying guns in church is a good idea. That way people would at least compare artilery before debating scriptural interpretations or otherwise engaging in smacktalk in adult Sunday school. They might also put a little more in the collection plate if they knew that their stinginess might yield an armed conflict instead of the usual stern, disapproving look.

Henceforth, each confirmation class should receive a Bible, a .357, and firearms training. Think of how much faster churches could afford to repair those leaky roofs!

steve s said...

If you are suggesting that people be forbidden from carrying in church, then you are suggesting that people shouldn't be allowed a tool to defend themselves in that place. My reference to advertising, is that I am sure that many people carry at church, but don't let others know. I have spotted a few over the years.

As I noted on the other blog, there are attacks in church, so the notion of safety didn't help those victims.

When have I ever suggested arming the congregation or browbeating people into carrying? I am trying to be respectful and if I have said something offensive, I apologize. If you are not interested in discussing this in a reasonable manner, I will drop it.

steve s said...

The common law requirement of a "duty to retreat" was not a part of English common law prior to the founding of the US, nor is it part of their common law today. The duty to retreat in the US was only adopted by a minority of states and only applies in narrow circumstances.

Streak said...

Steve, I am tired and cranky. I apologize.

But I do struggle with guns in church. I really don't give a damn that there are potential threats. I don't like the idea of people carrying a gun into a sanctuary.

I also still struggle with your suggestion that the only possible way to defend oneself is with a gun. That frustrates me and contributes to my snippiness in this conversation. There are other ways to protect people--including in a church.

Nor, do I think, did I suggest that you were arguing for arming the congregation or browbeating anyone into doing it. Not sure where that comes from either. I am suggesting, as I noted above and in previous comments, that guns have no place in a church. If that offends you, then I don't know what to say.

Streak said...

btw, Steve, I saw your response over at Tony's and it was a good one. You certainly addressed the other forms of defense there.

Bootleg Blogger said...

Streak- I think this is a whirlwind in a teacup- a minority (probably of one) pastor who said some provocative stuff and got his 15minutes. I don't have hard data, but my experience is that most people don't really like guns or want to be around them, even if they did reduce the threat of a violent attack on their person. Other people either like messing with guns or feel they're necessary. I have a strong feeling that any church I've ever been in would hear these words and either fire the pastor or smile and nod and let him have his little fantasy but they would have NO intention of being in on the arms training. The main wildcard for me is that this is a pastor saying this. Unfortunately lots of people check their rationality in the foyer when they enter church for some reason.

As for the conversation on carrying a gun in church or not, that kind of decision would be moot where I attend (not allowed). Most congregants would be very uncomfortable with a gun in worship and the person carrying it could leave it outside or attend where it's allowed.

Lastly, the main gripe I have with guys like this has to do with what I consider to be a fairly flippant attitude about violence and killing another human. Most people that I know that are responsible gun owners, in law enforcement or the military, or have been involved in violent attacks, tend to be much more reserved and contemplative than this pastor. I'm not saying it's everyone, just my experience. Those I know who carry guns and have had to use them have NEVER suggested that I do so.
Anyway- Later-bb

PS- Going soft, huh. "Obsenity alert" WTF?

steve s said...

I disagree with guns not being allowed in church, but I don't find that view offensive. I realize this is an emotional issue for many (including myself) which is why I don't tell others I carry. The other reason is that some people feel the need to 'out' people that are carrying or think it is funny to tell others.

I don't know the stats on how many people are uncomfortable with guns. Gun ownership is at an all-time high, with more than 50% of households having guns, so I would assume that a slight majority is 'ok' with guns. I don't know what percentage is comfortable in church, but I would guess that it is less.

I get bothered by people that make jokes about killing or have bumber stickers that say 'Protected by Smith & Wesson.' Fortunately, most gun owners I know are less flippant and are serious when it comes to self-defense. The main points I stress in my class is safety and responsibility. The legal portion is the longest component and I still feel it leaves out stuff that I just don't have time to cover.

Streak said...

I agree with both. I understand that many gun owners are responsible and sober about what that means.

And to be fair, I am not terribly intrigued with church right now as it is, but if I saw a person next to me packing a 9 mil, I would be gone. F&*k this would be my thought. I can watch Die Hard instead. If I go to church, I would prefer that the people around me at least embrace the fantasy that this is something different. Some call that faith. Not that I have much of a clue about faith right now. But if going to church includes sorting ammunition, count me the hell out.

steve s said...

I hope you wouldn't leave on my account...or at least I did a better job at concealment. ; )

I love Die Hard, so I just might join you.