On Tom Delay, AR-15 Jesus and Killing All the Liberals

This is an actual truck my kids and I saw on the way to school this morning. Yes, really.

There is just too much crazy going around lately. Seriously. Too. Much.

[I’m lookin’ at you Tom Delay, Jerry Boykin & Crazy Conservative Truck Couple]

Seriously, y’all just gotta cut it out.

This morning I woke up to the news that a former Senator’s assertion that God wrote the Constitution of the United States AND that a Former U.S. General said that Jesus is going to come back as Rambo in a robe, covered in the blood of his enemies and carrying an AR-15. Not only that, but he asserted that the second amendment came from Jesus, “Now I want you to think about this: where did the Second Amendment come from? … From the Founding Fathers, it’s in the Constitution. Well, yeah, I know that. But where did the whole concept come from? It came from Jesus…the sword today is an AR-15, so if you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one. It’s biblical.”

First, let’s address the fact that God did not write the Constitution or any other part of the law of the United States. (If you missed what Tom Delay said you can listen to it here). It is hard for me to believe that is something that actually needs to be said but apparently it does. Is there Judeo-Christian influence present in our laws? Of course. Were any of our laws or our Constitution authored by God directly or indirectly? Hell, no. As Benjamin Corey said on his blog today,

What’s scary about this [Delay’s statement], is that people functionally believe it. Perhaps not many are dumb enough to actually believe that it’s true, but after having it drilled into their heads repeatedly that God is somehow connected with the constitution, people functionally operate as if this document came from God and cannot be questioned. Obviously it’s not– my children are not less of a person because of the color of their skin, God isn’t the one who killed Native Americans in order to set up shop here, God isn’t the one who built our wealth on the backs of slaves… the US constitution did NOT come from God.

Mr. Delay’s statements bring up all sorts of questions, such as, “If God wrote the Constitution did he also write the Second Amendment to the Constitution? Retired General Jerry Boykin, who is now working for the Family Research Council, says yes. In a seemingly unrelated and yet shockingly parallel universe, a recording came to light yesterday of General Boykin discussing what Jesus will be like when he returns. You can listen to it here:

Yes folks you heard that right, but if you’d like to read it again, here you go…

“The Lord is a warrior and in Revelation 19 it says when he comes back, he’s coming back as what? A warrior. A mighty warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe … I believe that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies ’cause he’s coming back as a warrior carrying a sword.

And I believe now – I’ve checked this out – I believe that sword he’ll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15.

Now I want you to think about this: where did the Second Amendment come from? … From the Founding Fathers, it’s in the Constitution. Well, yeah, I know that. But where did the whole concept come from? It came from Jesus when he said to his disciples ‘now, if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.’

I know, everybody says that was a metaphor. IT WAS NOT A METAPHOR! He was saying in building my kingdom, you’re going to have to fight at times. You won’t build my kingdom with a sword, but you’re going to have to defend yourself. And that was the beginning of the Second Amendment, that’s where the whole thing came from. I can’t prove that historically and David [Barton] will counsel me when this is over, but I know that’s where it came from. And the sword today is an AR-15, so if you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one. It’s biblical.”

Okay, first off, “that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies”? Oh is it now? So much for all that love your enemies stuff that Jesus said. I don’t know about you but I believe that the blood on his robe is his own blood. I also believe that blood is symbolic. I believe it is symbolic of our sins being forgiven and “not just our sins, but the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). But sadly for Gen. Boykin his image is of Jesus in a robe stained by the blood of his own enemies because he just mowed them down with an AR-15. I guess the folks in the truck I saw this morning agree that this is what loving ones enemies looks like. For the life of me I don’t know how these folks get from Jesus laying down his life for others because of his great love to this Jesus. Oh wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could just kill all the people we disagree with. Holy Hannah! What kind of love is that?

Next, we have Jesus coming up with the second amendment when he tells the guys to sell their cloaks and buy a couple swords (or AR-15s, you say potato…). To quote Benjamin Corey from Formerly Fundie again,

That passage is found in Luke 22, and is just before Jesus is arrested:

“He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment. The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied.”

Those who quote this verse to support the idea that Jesus endorses violence have to quote just the first part without the whole context. What’s neat about this passage is that it doesn’t leave you wondering what it’s about– Jesus clearly tells us. By citing an OT prophesy of being “numbered with transgressors” Jesus tells them to bring two swords to the garden. The reason, Jesus tells us, is that so he could be counted and arrested as an armed criminal. We know that Jesus didn’t intend the swords for violent reasons because (a) He tells them that 2 were plenty, which they weren’t if it were for self defense (b) when the disciples actually use them for self-defense in the garden (Peter) he rebukes him with another command for nonviolence: “No more of this! He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.”

There is nothing in this passage that indicates Jesus approved of violence, only the contrary.

All this Jesus as Rambo stuff caused my friend Josh to opine on a Facebook discussion today, “Isn’t that what they thought he would be like the first time?” You would think we would learn.

Sadly men like Delay and Boykin have so blurred the lines between their religion and their patriotism that they have begun to think of our founding documents as scripture and to believe that scripture (specifically their interpretation of it) should be the law of our land. *shudder* God help us all. I wrote a blog post about that very concept last year when I heard a guy on the radio say that the Bible trumps the law of the United States. Oh really now? I need only ask one question to illustrate why this is such a bad idea: Whose version of the Bible? Whose interpretation of it? Theirs? or (heaven help them), mine? Maybe the Pope’s or Rob Bell’s? Doesn’t this eventually lead to a Supreme Court of sorts to determine what is Biblical and what isn’t? Isn’t that just a Christian version of Sharia law? And how about this? If you believe the Constitution is God breathed why did it need so many amendments? And if it was these guy’s God who wrote it, why didn’t it already have a clause in there about marriage being between one man and one woman? Why didn’t it ban homosexuality? Things that make you say hmmm.

AWOL from the Christian Culture War.

“Let them vote ‘no’ to this ordinance, and ‘yes’ to the reign of the kingdom of God,” Pastor Charles Flowers said at the rally. He said this right before joining the crowd in booing Eric Alva, an openly gay Marine staff sergeant who became the first U.S. soldier injured in Iraq when he stepped on a landmine, spoke in favor of an ordinance that would protect people against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity at a San Antonio City Council meeting on Wednesday night.

Sigh. I find the culture war exhausting, distasteful and confusing. I am overcome with the cloud of war and have become convinced that the people who sit in the Christian War Room drawing up plans and maps are fighting for the wrong causes for all the wrong reasons.

So, as of today, I am going AWOL. I am out of here. I am trading in my faith fatigues for flowers and my Bible bombs for hugs.

In reality, I actually defected in my heart a long time ago, and have expressed my dissent and disagreement with the Christian Culture War Machine long and loud on many an occasion. The difference today is that I am declaring my independence and leaving the ranks.

I mean why do people who claim to follow Christ want to fight a war that Jesus never asked them to fight?

In Jesus’ day many people were looking for the Messiah to come in and politically and militarily take over and set up a physical kingdom right then. Many people were actually quite disappointed to find out that Jesus was not interested in removing Caesar or even the Sanhedrin from power. Almost as disappointed perhaps as some might be to learn that Jesus has no interest in impeaching President Obama.

Jesus was also faced with a woman caught in the act of adultery (an offence according to Jewish law that had very specific and dire consequences) he did not stand on the side of the powers that would have chosen to see this woman stoned to death. He stood on the side of the woman and extended radical grace to her. The men who accused her were testing Jesus to see if he would uphold the law. He did not. Do you think there would be the same level of disappointment  on the faces of people today when Jesus stands by the side of a woman who chooses abortion and extends radical grace to her?

When people were upset by the company Jesus kept and the parties he attended, when they called him a drunk and a sinner, he didn’t stop to please them. He didn’t cut them off either. He simply continued to be who he was and let people make their own decisions about him. I try to apply this principle on Facebook when people disagree with me. I have yet to sever ties with friends who disagree with me, I continue on being who I believe he calls me to be and allow people the freedom to choose to sever ties or stay friends. I always hope for the latter.

Jesus, though he was able to call down the power of heaven to free himself from the cross, instead chose to absorb the hate and give back forgiveness. I am afraid there were people there who were disappointed that he did not call down the fire and wipe out “the enemies”. Even people who had lived with him and had heard his teachings. How often are God‘s foot soldiers caught up in forcing people to conform to what they believe by passing laws which do nothing to change people’s hearts?

*side note: This isn’t just happening here at home. American Christians are also instrumental in influencing laws in other countries. A prime example of this can be found in Uganda’s Anti-gay Legislation, which you can read about here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/world/africa/04uganda.html?_r=0

As far as I can tell, Jesus was/is on the side of the lepers, the women, the overlooked, the underestimated, the ones who drink too much, say too much, feel to much. He also was/is on the side of the privileged, the zealot, the religious, the goody-two-shoes and the ones who are just too tired to go on. He loves us all. His kingdom is a kingdom of peace. His law is a law of love. His righteousness is a free gift that is neither bought nor earned by any of us.

My allegiance is to this king and this kingdom. Not to some misguided war machine that is dedicated to fighting against the people they were sent to love. Too often they have used Jesus himself as a weapon and his words to wound instead of heal.

The very people Jesus intends to be the Red Cross to a dying and imprisoned world; who he sends to deliver the good news that their imprisonment is over and that God is not holding their sins against them; instead point to the bars and make sure the prisoners knew their captivity is their own damn fault.

Here is the commission I believe Jesus offers and I gladly accept: Ambassador of the God who came near. I will willing and joyfully serve as the Minister of Reconciliation for the one who took all the wrath that humans could dish out and said, I choose love.