WashPost 'On Faith' Contributor Uses Aurora Shooting As Occasion to Preach Gun Control

July 23rd, 2012 12:50 PM

Americans trust guns more than they do, God, Washington Post "On Faith" contributor Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite insists in her July 22 post. The liberal theologian preaches for the need to correct the idolatry by, you guessed it, more gun control, just as she did back during Holy Week.

Brooks Thistlethwaite, a senior fellow for the liberal Center for American Progress, returned to her shtick of twisting Christian Scripture to insist upon liberal policy prescriptions, in this case, the disarming of law-abiding civilians (emphasis mine):

“In God we trust” is the motto adopted in 1956 that Republicans love to reaffirm over and over. This is starting to sound like a version of Hamlet’s mother who protested “too much.”

But if we trust God so much, why do we need all these guns?


Guns provide the illusion of safety and it is an illusion. People who own guns are more likely to die from gun violence than those who do not own guns. But the gun lobby would love you to believe guns will keep you safe.

But let’s be clear. Ultimate trust in God would not have kept any individual audience member in Aurora safe from the shooter. It’s not that simple. Trust in God means obedience to what God wants for human life; it requires that believers act together with others, including people of other faiths and humanist values, to create a society where guns are regarded as the problem, not the solution.

Jesus’ teaching on this could not be clearer. As I noted during Holy Week this year, when Jesus is about to be arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, one of his followers pulls out a sword and tries to defend Jesus with the weapon. “Put away your sword,” Jesus commands, “for those who live by the sword, die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52) And those who live by the gun die by the gun.

The politics of gun control is clearly not working. I believe what is missing is a faith conversion.

More Americans of faith today need to be challenged by a very direct question: do you trust God or guns more? This is Jesus’ challenge to Christians: put away the guns.

Of course the Left hyperventilates about the "theocracy" that conservative Christians want to impose by defending traditional marriage and working to overturn Roe v. Wade, for example, but here Brooks Thistlethwaite, a liberal Christian, is making perfectly clear that she wants a "faith conversion" on the issue of gun control that's motivated by her [erroneous] interpretation of Scripture.

As I've stated before, Brooks Thistlethwaite's selective use of Scripture and misinterpretation thereof is easily countered by conservative Christians who are pro-gun rights.

From my April 4 blog post:

Oddly enough,  Brooks Thistlethwaite doesn't bring up, let alone attempt to reconcile another account of something Jesus said earlier on the night in which he was betrayed, wherein he permitted his disciples to own and buy swords:

And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:35-38 ESV)

Indeed, Jesus said this before the walk from the upper room out to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Peter struck a servant of the high priest when the temple authorities came to arrest Jesus.

If Jesus wanted his disciples to walk about unarmed, why didn't he tell them as much, and forbid the carrying of deadly weapons?

In Brooks Thistlethwaite's attempt to distort Scripture in service of a political argument, she ignores the actual context. In the passage from Matthew, she cut off Jesus mid-argument. Here's what Jesus said immediately after saying that those who live by the sword would die by the sword (emphasis mine):

Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
(Matthew 26:53-54 ESV)

Earlier in the Gospel of Matthew, the writer recounted how Jesus rebuked Peter for rebuking Jesus when he first foretold his death, this was immediately after Peter had confessed Jesus as the Christ (emphasis mine):

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

(Matthew 16:21-23 ESV)

In his account of the incident, the Apostle John wrote:

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

(John 18:10-11 ESV)

Scripture repeatedly shows that Jesus was determined to fulfill his divine rescue mission of dying for the sins of the world upon a Roman cross. It's a mission his closest disciples, particularly Peter, failed persistently to understand prior to Jesus's death and resurrection. It's in that context that Jesus rebuked his disciples for drawing the sword that dark night in Gethsemane.

Jesus was opposed to His church spreading by the sword, but to use these texts to suggest that Jesus opposed in every and all circumstance the use of self-defense against aggression is to rip Jesus's teachings out of context.