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The Presbyterian Church and Guns

Via Israpundit, the Presbyterian Church USA is yammering on and on about gun control again:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a thirty year history of support for gun control legislation. Beginning in the late 1960’s, in response to the assassinations of public leaders, the General Assembly called for “. . . control [of] the sale and possession of fire arms of all kinds.”1 In 1976, this statement was re-affirmed, but also specifically worded to “. . .not cover shotguns and rifles used legitimately by sportsmen. . .”.2 In 1988, these and other statements supporting gun control were again reaffirmed.

Specifically:

Support[ing] gun control at federal, state, and local levels as the most effective response to the present crisis of gun violence. . .

Call[ing] upon the United States government to establish meaningful and effective federal legislation to regulate the importation, manufacture, sale, and possession of guns and ammunition by the general public. Such legislation should include provisions for the registration and licensing of gun purchasers and owners, appropriate background investigations and waiting periods prior to gun purchase, and regulation of subsequent sale.

Urg[ing] the enactment of similar state and local laws, should such federal legislation be delayed.

Call[ing] upon government agencies at all levels to provide significant assistance to victims of gun violence and their families.

intentionally work toward removing handguns and assault weapons from our homes and our communities

I have mentioned this before but then realized it was just the Washington DC PCUSA. That doesn’t appear to be the case now as this piece is from the Presbyterian Church USA’s main site. Some Presbyterians are jumping ship. Me and the Mrs. are members. Well, actually, she’s a member and I just get dragged there once a month to feign interest and listen to crappy gospel music done by white people. Guess I’ll be asking them about their involvement with PCUSA.

I generally think it’s ill-advised for any church group to be involved in political issues. I want the .gov out of my church and my church out of the .gov.

25 Responses to “The Presbyterian Church and Guns”

  1. Ravenwood Says:

    As a non-profit, they need to be careful not to show partisanship too.

  2. jed Says:

    Reminds me of the Methodists. I hadn’t been aware of it, but in the book “Armed” (Kleck/Kates) there’s some info on their involvement — I’m pretty sure, anyway, that that’s where I read about it. You can find a bit of info here. I wonder what Donald Sensing thinks of that.

  3. Guy Montag Says:

    I gave up the Presbyterian Church for Lent. Looks like I made the right choice.

  4. Ron W Says:

    Now how would the Presbyterian Church USA propose to “intentionally work toward removing handguns and assault weapons FROM OUR HOMES…”” against those of us who refuse to give up “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”? Oh, maybe by guns–hired guns of the government?

    “Removing handguns and assault weapons from our homes”? Hmmm, I wonder if they support the “right to privacy”?

  5. Thibodeaux Says:

    I hate those Religious Right-wingers.

  6. Ron W Says:

    Excuse the repeat! The first post was delayed and I re-did it.

  7. Ron W Says:

    jed,

    You’re right about the Methodists (United Methodist Church) which, by majority vote at its 2000 General Conference, called for a government ban on all private firearms ownership. Once again, they should be asked how that would be enforced–by government hired guns?

    It reminds me of this:

    “Germans who wish to use firearms should join the [Nazi] SS or SA–ordinary
    citizens don’t need guns, as their having them doesn’t serve the state.”
    –Heinrich Himmler, Head of the Nazi Gestapo

    And I would think they would be among those who say, “never again”.

    “There is no doubt in my mind that millions of lives could have been saved if
    the [German] people were not brainwashed about gun ownership and had been
    well armed. … Gun haters always want to forget the Warsaw Ghetto uprising,
    which is a perfect example of how a ragtag, half-starved group of Jews took 10
    handguns and made asses out of the Nazis.”
    -Theodore Haas, Dachau Survivor

    “Oh, that could never happen here”, they say …ah-huh

  8. FreedomSight Says:

    […] Say Uncle mentions support for gun control by the Presbyterian church, and adds that some members are leaving that denomination because of it. I was reminded of the Methodist support for gun control, which I read about a while ago — I think it was in the book Armed by Gary Kleck and Don Kates (I’d have to do some digging to be certain). I have to wonder about the reasoning behind a Christian denomination taking any such positions. My understanding of their dogma is that life itself is the most precious gift of god to man, after salvation. Actually calling life a “gift” might not be the best characterization, because that term implies a conveyance of ownership. But 1 Corinthians 6:19 reads:What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?The status of man, as I understand it, is not one of ownership, but that of stewardship — i.e the role of an assigned caretaker — of this mortal life, and the body which comes with it. Isn’t it part of the role of caretaker to protect and defend that which is entrusted to one’s care? What does it say about the value one places on the gifts of God (“gift” here meaning that the assignment of stewardship is itself a “gift”) if one abandons the means of protecting one’s life, and that of others, by not just disregarding highly effective tools of self defense, but actively discouraging their use by others? Is the “temple of the Holy Spirit” of so little value to you, that you will allow irrational fear to persuade you to abandon it’s protection? Here’s a little test for you. Do you believe that guns, in and of themselves, are evil — i.e. the tools of Satan? If so, then do you believe and advocate disarmament of the police? If not, then do you believe that guns, like any other technological advancement, are also a gift from God? If so, then why disparage, or even villify, such a gift? In thinking about these questions, do you detect some inconsistencies in your thinking? As long as I’m quoting scripture to the Presbyterians, I’ll add 1 Corinthians 3:19:For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. […] […]

  9. Ron W Says:

    Well said, Freedomsight,

    Here’s some more pro-self defense Biblical passages:

    Jesus said, ” When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace.” –Luke 11:21

    Then said He (Jesus) unto them, “But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it and likewise his pack; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. –Luke 22:36 (the sword was the best personal arm of the day, carried by the Roman military)

    A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain and a corrupt spring. –Proverbs 25:26

    But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. –I Timothy 5:8 (certainly defense of one’s own house would be a provision to be included according to what Jesus said in Luke 11:21)

    I do respect those who choose unarmed pacifism for themselves, but not when they want to impose it on the rest of us by govenment force.

  10. Xrlq Says:

    Ron, I’m pretty sure that Himmler quote is a fake.

  11. _Jon Says:

    Organized Religion is a form of government that ignores geographic boundaries….

  12. Ron W Says:

    Xrlq,

    How do you know it’s a fake quote? Nevertheless, gun control was a Nazi (National Socialists) policy necessary for their Holocaust as Theodore Haas, Dachau Survivor, points out. And it’s a policy being pushed by religious “liberals” here and now. And how would they enforce it here…by guns, of course. Hmmm, that’s not very liberal, as in liberty to the people.

  13. tgirsch Says:

    Uncle:

    You could always try the other Presbyterian church.

    I generally think it’s ill-advised for any church group to be involved in political issues. I want the .gov out of my church and my church out of the .gov.

    Do something about it.

  14. Ron W Says:

    tgirsch,

    Good advice to Uncle about trying another church.

    Although I disgree with the Presbyterians and the Methodists (where I went for 20+ years) advocating against the Bill of Rights for the policies of removing guns from our homes or banning their ownership, I don’t want to become like them and have the government ban or “separate” them from advocating and interjecting those positions into the political discourse. To do so would violate:”CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW respecting the establisment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… and any such law would involve government force, ultimately backed up by the hired guns of government.

    And tgirsch, you can get the government out of your church by taking your own good advice to Uncle; choosing one that is NOT a 501-3c, government-registered organization and choosing one in which the people, as a group, agree to take no stand on any political issue. Neither of which requires any imposition by a government agency as does the “do something” link which is another political-religious organization.

  15. Ron W Says:

    I also oppose the position of secularists who support removing guns from our homes or banning their ownership:

    “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns,
    why should we let them have ideas.” –Joseph Stalin, Communist Dictator of
    Russia


    “The Communist Party must control the guns.”–Mao Tse-tung

    “A system of licensing and registration, is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie.” Vladamir Ilyich Lenin

    I fully support the First Amendment right of “free speech” of both religious and secular people and oranizations to advocate for the denial of my 2nd Amendment right, but I will not give up either. And they are and should always be free to exercise unarmed pacifism. My guns are no threat to them, but only to criminals and tyrants–or the agents thereof.

    “Without either the first or second amendment, we would have no liberty; the first allows us to find out what’s happening, the second allows us to do something about it! The second will be taken away first, followed by the first and then the rest of our freedoms.” –Andrew Ford

  16. Sailorcurt Says:

    One of the reasons I left the Presbyterian Church is due to the liberal policies (not just gun control) of the National Church. The bad thing is, the liberal policies that have to be voted on by the member churches and Presbyteries (namely, changes to official rules for the church contained in the book of Order) almost inevitably fail to be ratified, and generally by large margins. The majority of members, churches and presbyteries do not support the blatantly liberal policies of the PCUSA leadership.

    The problem is, Each church is required to send money to PCUSA based upon congregation size. Therefore, simply being a member of the church lends support to the organization whether you agree with the policies or not and whether you tithe or donate offerings or not…By simply being a member of the church you are actively supporting policies with which you disagree. The only way for a Presbyterian Church to get out of sending the money is to officially disassociate itself with PCUSA. The problem is, most of the physical properties in which the churches are located are owned by the Presbyteries…and, therefore, by PCUSA. So if a Church decides to leave the PCUSA, they have to find somewhere else to hold services too.

    That’s why I’m a Nazarene now.

    Beware of any church that is a member of the National Council of Churches USA…which is a member of the World Council of Churches. They are both simply large, extremely liberal lobbying organizations.

  17. tgirsch Says:

    Ron W:

    Actually, I don’t have a church, but the organization I linked is expressly political, and its stated purpose is as Uncle requested: Keeping the church and the state out of one another’s business. AU has broad support from both the religious (of many creeds) and the nonreligious (such as myself).

  18. sai Says:

    “I have to wonder about the reasoning behind a Christian denomination taking any such positions. “

    Most of it comes from two misunderstood issues. First is the inaccurate translation of the 6th Commandment in the King James version of the bible “Thou shalt not kill”.

    The New International Version is widely recognized by scholors as the more accurate translation. The NIV version of the 6th Commandment is “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13, NIV). The hebrew word used in the original texts indicates a deliberate and premeditated act of murder. There are other hebrew words normally used to indicate accidental or justifiable killing (including self-defense). The incorrect translation of the King James version which was widely used until relatively recently has led many Christians to believe that God ordered us to refrain from killing for ANY REASON. That is simply not accurate.

    Secondly is a misunderstanding of the passage where Jesus entreats his followers to “turn the other cheek”.

    “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 7:39.

    This is a problem both in translation and in context. First of all, if you read the entire section from Matthew 7:38 to 7:42, he was not speaking about self defense. He was speaking about insults or demeaning behavior. This is borne out by the fact that the Greek word used for “srikes” in the original text literally translates into “slaps you with the back of the hand” which obviously indicates that Jesus was talking about suffering insults with grace and humility, not swearing yourself to utter pacificm. There is a time and justifiable reason for using violence. In response to criticism or insult is not that time.

    Some also mention Jesus entreating Peter to put away his sword when Jesus was being arrested. Of significance to me is that Jesus told Peter to PUT it away, not THROW it away. To me that says that it is perfectly fine to bear the sword, indicating that it is also OK to use it when appropriate. Jesus was simply telling Peter that it’s use was inappropriate at that time.

    In any case, I’m no scholor or theologian. But even scholors and theologians disagree about what specific passages of the bible mean. Basically we are all merely imperfect humans with an imperfect capacity to understand God’s word and purposes. With that in mind, theologians and scholors are no more qualified to tell me what the bible means than my own reading, logic and personal relationship with God tell me. I have variances in minor details of my faith with every church I’ve ever attended. That’s OK. If they ask me, I’ll tell them what I think. If not, I won’t. I’ll just live my life according to the path that I believe God has set before me. And if a church strays too far from the fundamentals of what I believe, I have no particular devotion to them. I’ll go somewhere that better fits what I believe to be the truth.

    Organized Religion is a form of government that ignores geographic boundaries….

    That depends on the church. Some (catholic, lutheran, presbyterian, etc) are much more regimented, governmental and (in my mind) repressive. Others…many of the “evangelical” denominations in particular…are only very loosely organized and are much less “governmental”.

    If organization is the only criteria by which a government is defined, the International Red Cross, the American Heart Association, the Disabled American Veterans, the World Gospel Mission, the ACLU, the NRA, etc. etc. etc. are all forms of governments. This is very true in a literal sense, but not in a practical sense and is not a valid reason to dismiss the organizations, or their goals, out of hand.

  19. Sailorcurt Says:

    Sorry, my name got truncated somehow. The last post was from me: Sailorcurt.

  20. Xrlq Says:

    Ron, I’m not positive it’s a fake – hence the reference to being “pretty sure” – but it’s reminiscent of a popular quote ascribed to Hitler that clearly was a fake. The main reason neither rings true is that there’s no evidence German gun laws changed all that much during the Nazi era. The (probably) fake Himmler quote sounds more like something a modern German would say. Haas himself made it clear that Germans’ general aversion to an armed citizenry was a mentality that predated Hitler, not something Hitler foisted on the German people for the first time.

  21. Ron W Says:

    Xrlq,

    Yes, the gun control laws in Germany pre-dated the Nazis, but then the Nazis used those laws against the people, particularly the Jews. It’s the history of gun control, especially in the 20th Century.

    “Gun control has cleared the way for seven major genocides since 1915, in which governments gone bad murdered 56,000,000 persons, including millions of children.”
    -Aaron Zelman of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
    http://www.jpfo.org

  22. Ron W Says:

    tgirsch,

    “Keeping the church and the state out of one another’s business” requires the force of government which is restricted by “Congress shall make no law…”

    Why should the Rev. Barry Lynn inteject be free to get into the state’s business just because his organization is “political” while some other Rev. is restricted by the government from doing so because his organization is “religious”? All individuals and organizations whether religious or political should be free get into the business of the state since the wording of the First Amendment doesn’t have the words “separation of church and state”.

    But back to the subject, I strongly disagree with those religious (Presbyterian USA and UMC) and secualr individuals and organizations (Communists and other leftists) who want the hired guns of government to remove guns from my home or ban me from owning them.

  23. Ron W Says:

    Xrlq,

    I was wrong by implying that all gun laws in Germany pre-dated the Nazis.

    You were right, there were gun control laws in Germany that pre-dated the Nazis in Germany which provided registration lists that made gun confiscation, arrests, detention, etc. much easier.

    I forgot the Nazi gun laws of 1938–which, by the way, are congruent with the quotation by Heinrich Himmler.

    Regulations Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons
    11 November 1938
    With a basis in §31 of the Weapons Law of 18 March 1938 (Reichsgesetzblatt I, p.265), Article III of the Law on the Reunification of Austria with Germany of 13 March 1938 (Reichsgesetzblatt I, p. 237), and §9 of the Führer and Chancellor’s decree on the administration of the Sudeten-German districts of 1 October 1938 (Reichsgesetzblatt I, p 1331) are the following ordered:
    §1
    Jews (§5 of the First Regulations of the German Citizenship Law of 14 November 1935, Reichsgesetzblatt I, p. 1333) are prohibited from acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as truncheons or stabbing weapons. Those now possessing weapons and ammunition are at once to turn them over to the local police authority.

    §2
    Firearms and ammunition found in a Jew’s possession will be forfeited to the government without compensation.

    §3
    The Minister of the Interior may make exceptions to the Prohibition in §1 for Jews who are foreign nationals. He can entrust other authorities with this power.

    §4
    Whoever willfully or negligently violates the provisions of §1 will be punished with imprisonment and a fine. In especially severe cases of deliberate violations, the punishment is imprisonment in a penitentiary for up to five years.

    §5
    For the implementation of this regulation, the Minister of the Interior waives the necessary legal and administrative provisions.

    §6
    This regulation is valid in the state of Austria and in the Sudeten-German districts.

    Berlin, 11 November 1938
    Minister of the Interior
    Frick

    So do you agree with the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Methodist Church, the Communists and the Nazis–that the force of government should disarm us and, if necessary, its hired guns enforce it on those of us who refuse to give up the basic right of armed self-defense?

  24. Ron W Says:

    Xlrq writes,

    “Haas himself made it clear that Germans’ general aversion to an armed citizenry was a mentality that predated Hitler, not something Hitler foisted on the German people for the first time.”

    Yes! In Germany, Hitler was second. Gun control is evil whether it came from the Weimar Republic or the Nazis. And thank you for your link:http://www.jpfo.org/Survive.htm

    Go read that link, it’s has excellent reasons against gun control regardless from whom it comes!

    Below are some exerpts:

    A.) Many, many times. Before Adolph Hitler came to power, there was a black market in firearms, but the German people had been so conditioned to be law abiding, that they would never consider buying an unregistered gun. The German people really believed that only hoodlums own such guns. What fools we were. It truly frightens me to see how the government, media, and some police groups in America are pushing for the same mindset. In my opinion, the people of America had better start asking and demanding answers to some hard questions about firearms ownership, especially if the government does not trust me to own firearms, why or how can the people be expected to trust the government?

    There is no doubt in my mind that millions of lives could have been saved if the people were not “brainwashed” about gun ownership and had been well armed. Hitler’s thugs and goons were not very brave when confronted by a gun. Gun haters always want to forget the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which is a perfect example of how a ragtag, half starved group of Jews took up 10 handguns and made asses out of the Nazis.

    Q.) Do you think American society has enough stability that Jews and other minorities are safe from severe persecution?

    A.) (Haas): No. I think there is more anti-Semitism in America (some of it caused by leftist Jewish politicians and organizations who promote gun control schemes) than there was in Germany. This may stun some people, but not all Germans hated Jews. My best and devoted friends in Germany were Christians. I perceive America as a very unstable society, due to social tinkering of the Kennedy/Metzenbaum-type politicians. When I first came to this wonderful country after World War II, America was vibrant, dynamic and promising society. There really was an American dream, attainable by those who wanted to work. Now, due to the curse of Liberalism, America is in a period of moral decline. Even worse, corrupt criminals hold high political office, and you have police officials who don’t give a damn about the Bill of Rights. They just want to control people, not protect and serve. When you study history, you see that when a country becomes an immoral manure heap, as America is rapidly becoming, all minorities suffer, and ultimately, all the citizens….

    …Vote only for politicians who trust the people to own all types of firearms, and who have a strong pro-Second Amendment voting record. Anti-gunownership politicians are very dangerous to a free society. Liberty and freedom can only be preserved by an armed citizenry. I see creeping m in America, just as in Germany, a drip at a time; a law here, a law there, all supposedly passed to protect the public. Soon you have total enslavement. Too many Americans have forgotten that tyranny often masquerades as doing good. This is the technique the Liberal politicians/Liberal media alliance are using to enslave America.

  25. Xrlq Says:

    So do you agree with the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Methodist Church, the Communists and the Nazis–that the force of government should disarm us and, if necessary, its hired guns enforce it on those of us who refuse to give up the basic right of armed self-defense?

    Ron, if you think I’m a gun control advocate you really need to get out more.

Used three kinds of generics. I liked the Levitra Pills more, although the others acted quite well. Perhaps it all depends on the characteristics of each organism.