Prayer Shaming After a Mass Shooting in San Bernardino
Following the murder of at least 14 people in California, the reaction against calls for prayer has been sharp.
There’s a clear claim being made…, and one with an edge: Democrats care about doing something and taking action while Republicans waste time offering meaningless prayers.
There are many assumptions packed into these attacks on prayer: that all religious people, and specifically Christians, are gun supporters, and vice versa. That people who care about gun control can’t be religious, and if they are, they should keep quiet in the aftermath of yet another heart-wrenching act of violence. At one time in American history, liberals and conservatives shared a language of God, but that’s clearly no longer the case; any invocation of faith is taken as implicit advocacy of right-wing political beliefs.
A few quotes from Andrew Strom’s latest blog post:
I am writing this because I continue to believe that US Christians are being “driven” toward something very ugly. There is a lot of nasty rhetoric flying around that is the very opposite of Christ-like.
We have spoken before about the dangers of mixing Christianity with “nationalism” – of wrapping the Bible in the flag – and calling it ‘orthodox’ Christianity. This stuff is not just dangerous – it is deadly. There have been countless wars and countless millions killed down the centuries by this very thing. Mixing “patriotism” with Christianity and using that to motivate people – to get them riled up and mad enough to go “fight” somebody or riot in the streets, or whatever. Hitler used just this kind of patriotism to get himself elected. And I see this very same anger rising amongst some Christian conservatives in America. You are being “driven” toward something – and it is very ugly.
a lot of this involves behavior that is totally “anti” Christian. -And despite being a great political document, the US Constitution is not a “Christian” document, and therefore fighting and screaming and name-calling over that document is not a “Christian” activity either. True Christians do not stand or fall by the US Constitution. They stand or fall by the actual word of God. And that is the only piece of writing that they should ever get so stirred up about.
Friends – we have a great mixing of Nationalism and Religion going on. And it is getting uglier and uglier.
This mixing of American nationalism and religion that Strom mentions is something I’ve also seen for some time. And it IS ugly – and some of the ugly symptoms I’ve seen recently have been written about elsewhere on my blog: such as attitudes to guns and the “right” to bear arms, the lies that have been promoted (by “Christians”) in opposition to President Obama, the belief in the myth of America’s Christian foundations established by the “founding fathers”…
I found Strom’s article to be very interesting and insightful, but the clearest revelation comes in the comments section. Far too many of the commenters don’t realise how strongly they PROVE the validity of what Strom has written in their desperation to defend Americanism and American “freedoms”.
Many tell Strom to stop commenting on the American situation. What would he know about America? He doesn’t understand so should restrict himself to commenting on his own nation.
In these demands, those people seem to make a few wrong assumptions:
1) That what happens in America stays in America
2) That other nations aren’t affected by American attitudes and actions
3) That the rest of the world is just as insular as America – and therefore would be just as ignorant of American issues as Americans are of the rest of the world.
In taking offense at the idea that a non-US citizen should point out perceived problems within the USA, the very warning against confusing/amalgamating nationalism with religion is shown as valid. Strom was not attacking America or Americans. He was expressing a concern about the attitudes and actions of CHRISTIANS who live in America. His concern is addressing (assumed) citizens of the Kingdom of GOD NOT citizens of America.
He expresses concern that the two SEPARATE Kingdoms are being merged in the hearts of far too many, producing a dangerous and ugly hybrid.
He is calling for people of GOD’S Kingdom to recognise which Kingdom they belong to and to be devoted to THAT Kingdom’s interests above those of a foreign Kingdom.
In defending their “American rights” and a perceived attack on America and Americans, it seems that many reveal the “Kingdom” closest to their hearts – the Kingdom they find most worthy of loving and protecting.
See the linked article and ask: ” was this a logical and reasonable thing for the boy to do?”
Under the circumstances and due to the prevailing(?) attitude to firearms in the US I think it was. Sadly!
Is it any different to home owners arming themselves just in case? It just seems more shocking that a child should do this out of fear of what may happen at school.
“US authorities say an 11-year-old boy caught with a gun at school in Utah told administrators he brought the weapon to defend himself in case of an attack similar to the mass shooting last week at a Connecticut elementary school…”
As it was pointed out in comments under a previous post, the only answer to the violence (and the gun obession) is the gospel of Jesus Christ. But what about the attitudes of the American Christians responsible for sharing that gospel? What role do guns (for protection) play in their lives?
What Kind of gospel can be shared when trust is placed in weaponry rather than in the God of the Gospel?