Posts Tagged ‘violence

29
Mar
10

March (Militia) Madness by Miz Pink

A militia group in the Midwest, getting ready to maybe kill some police or something and touch off some “revolutionary” conflict. Folks who claim to be Christian even though they aren’t following one dang word in the Bible and saying they’re gearing up to take on the anti-Christ.

Of course if they didn’t have religion to pin their insane hatred on they’d just be saying Obama is the next Mao or Stalin or whatever right?

Anything to justify loading up your guns and killing some folks over BS.

So, is my passport up to date? Cuz I’m thinking that it’s time to go find some place to live for a while with less crazies until this joint gets cleaned up a bit.

24
Aug
09

Force of Arms, Force of Words

So, if you’re not one of those people who check the “Recent Comments” menu in the sidebar around here, you will have missed a recent and ongoing conversation between me and a poster named Wes regarding an old post from February. You can find the post and comments by clicking here. It’s a fairly modest-sized post and the comments haven’t gotten too extensive, so please read it all first before we continue here.

Wes brings up some valid points, and I will copy and paste certain of our comments from that other thread here, though not all of them.

Now, my basic point in the February 3rd post was that we must strive for peace, but that sometimes, violence will be necessary. I brought up a passage from Paul about living in peace as much as we are able, and Wes countered, logically enough, with Matthew 5:38-40…

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

Fair enough. I responded, in part:

…there is a lot to be said for taking shit from someone and not retaliating. But this is a very individual statement by Jesus…What I think it that Jesus wants us to refrain from revenge most especially, and to refrain from responding to violence with violence.

Wes said a lot of things in response, and good ones, but I don’t want to paste the entire response here. But one thing he did was take exception with my “individual statement” comment since Jesus was speaking to a large group, and I clarified, in part:

My purpose for saying “very individual statement” is that it applies to the individual more than anything else. That is, I should be able to take routine abuses in life and not retaliate against them. But if someone lays hands on a member of my family, for example, I will defend them. Without hesitation and, I believe, with God’s support. Also, if someone comes up to me intending to physically harm me or kill me, I will defend myself. Jesus’ words are not meant to convey the idea that I should just take a beating and throw away my life because some crazed or violent human has come upon me.

Wes’ response, in part:

Everything you just said in your last reply was your own opinion, right? … i am extremely open, in fact i really desire, the truth from God, so if you have scripture that backs what you are saying, id love to know it, so i can change my own behaviors/attitudes and align them with the purposes of God as revealed thru his word.

OK, that is the critical stuff, I think. So, on I go…

Yes, much of this is my opinion. That is, my interpretation. And we should all know, as children of God, that the Bible requires intrepretation. Individually, collectively, through prayer, etc. The Bible is not a direct how-to guide. It doesn’t handle every situation and doesn’t anticipate every societal or technological change.

If we don’t apply logic and interpretation at times, we can easily turn the gospel into something oppressive at times. After all, couldn’t one take Paul’s comments about obedience of slaves and Jesus’ comment about turning the other cheek and argue that Blacks in the United States during slavery should have quietly endured their abuse and never tried to escape? Couldn’t we argue that people who helped slaves escape violated not only the gospel’s message but also the commandment against stealing (the slaves were, after all, property).

But that would ignore the fact that the “slaves” Paul referred to were more like indentured servants, and that some of those he referred to may not have been indentured at all technically, but low-level servants who owned nothing and had no place to live aside from their master’s property. Or the fact that he also meant “workers” (employees in our modern lingo). It would also ignore the fact that slavery in Jewish history and in Greek and Roman history was something that was often time-limited or that one could earn their way out of.

It would also ignore the fact that slavery as it was inflicted against Africans and American-born slaves Blacks in the United States was unjust on all levels imaginable. They were treated as chattel, and not humans.

But still, you could take Bible passages and argue that it should have been allowed to continue until the people perpetuating it came to their senses (which, given the fact that Jim Crow didn’t end all that long ago and still nominally exists in some parts of the United States means it might still be going on if people had sat by passively).

Yes, one can say that Jesus simply told us to suffer whatever comes our way and never lift a finger against it. But didn’t he also talk about his followers being able to pick up poisonous serpents and eat any harmful thing and not become sick or die? Taken to its finishing point, isn’t that the source of the madness among some that causes them to handle live rattlesnakes in church and sometimes die, or to deny medical care to their child because prayer should be enough?

Logic must come into play. Wes argues that God uses soldiers and law enforcement officers to just ends, suggesting that if they use violence, it’s more likely to be OK than if I do. Well, that may often be the case, though often such people are used by men for selfish institutional or personal ends. My point, though, is that a law enforcement officer isn’t always available.

Do we seriously think that if I see a man trying to knife a child on the street, that I am supposed to stand there and let it happen? Do we think that Jesus, who said it was better that a millstone be tied around a person’s neck and he be cast into the sea than to lead a child to sin is someone who really wants that? No, he would expect that I save that child. (And note, Jesus suggests that we honor children and don’t harm them, yet the Bible supports corporal punishment…which is right? Both, of course. One must balance one against the other with love and logic and prayer..again, logical interpretation must be in play).

What the Bible spends most of its time exhorting us against is violence against the innocent, against vengeance, against needless fights and arguments, against taking violent action as a convenient answer.

Let me put forth a few scenarios:

SCENE 1: Strange man comes up to the door of my house, and I answer it, and he says, “I’m taking all your stuff.”

What I will do is slam the door in that man’s face, not say, “Come on in and take it.” If he tries to block the door, I will push him out. If he forces his way in, I will assume that he means me harm and I will defend myself. Will I try to kill him or maim him? I hope not. Am I, as Wes suggests, putting my belonging ahead of God’s will? No. This is  man who may very well mean me harm. Someone who may return to do this again if I simply say, “OK, take all that I have.” Because you know, part of it is that what is in my home isn’t just mine. It is my family’s. They are things that I need for my family to be clothed, sheltered and fed. I’m not going to hand those things over just because some random guy bullies me. That’s taking the words of Jesus too literally and not the spirit of them. If the government seizes my stuff, I don’t have much to say about it, aside from legal redress later if possible. If a neighbor takes my lawn mower because I never gave back his power tools, I should just shut up and/or negotiate a peaceful exchange of property later. This is logic. Letting random psycho take my stuff is not an option.

SCENE 2: Man is preparing to rape my wife or daughter.

Please, Wes, don’t tell me you believe I should calmly call the police and then passively let it happens, or slink out of the house to wait for the cops. It might be wise to call the cops first. I certainly should refrain from killing the perpetrator. But I will pull him off my loved on and I will subdue him. Or die trying.

SCENE 3: Man demands I give him my coat or my car, or he will hurt or kill me.

OK, in all honesty, I should probably give it to him, and probably will. This is in stark contrast to someone who comes to my home and can come back if he finds me to be easy pickings. The coat or car are singular belongings. They are mere items, and killing the man or fighting him serves no purpose. However, let’s take a little twist. If said man is wearing a nice warm coat and accosts me in the middle of a snowstorm, and says, “Give me your coat and be on your way,” I am not going to allow him to expose me to harsh elements and possible death just because he’s a psycho jackass. I will keep my coat unless he forces it away from me. If he’s a homeless guy wearing rags saying, “I need that coat more than you do in this cold” I trust God and give it to him, even if he’s threatening, because he is in need. And desperate. A long cry from someone trying to do me harm for their own pleasure.

SCENE 4: Someone picks a fight with me in a public place.

I’ll try to avoid the fight. If the fight starts, I will attempt to end it as quickly as possible, with as little harm to the perpetrator as possible. That’s why I learned some basic self-defense and still remember how to do a sleeper hold. But I will not say, “Hit me.” Tell me, what godly purpose do I serve in that example? If I shout, “My Lord, forgive him what he is about to do,” and just stand there, I am stupid. Someone comes up and slaps me across the face and calls me a punk, no I shouldn’t get into a brawl with him. But that’s a blow that comes from nowhere, that I am not expecting, and I should be willing to take it and step away if possible. But not take a beating that could end my life or put me in the hospital. Jesus did not say, “Let yourself be crippled, or killed.” He said “turn the other cheek.” If Jesus wants me to be willing to die at the hands of any random homicidal bully, he would have said, “Resist no man with violence, even if it be unto your own death.” Jesus spoke in parables and examples. To think he wants us to lay down and bleed or die for every cruel person who might chance upon us is ridiculous.

Now, all that said, let me get to Wes’ other point, about my profane speech. Notice that for one thing, I don’t use those words very often anymore around here. And to be honest, I never just let loose an unending string of invective. I still use them, but I am more judicious in how I do so. I use them typically for specific reasons. Exhortations against speaking profane or obscene things doesn’t mean I can never use a cuss word. I have at times called people obscene things, and that is wrong. I have used such words in conjunction with God’s name, and that is wrong. But if I say, “That’s a motherfucking stupid thing to do,” I am making a point. An emphatic point.

Jesus talked about certain people’s mouths being like open sepulchres. If you don’t think that was some pretty provocative wording, every bit as bad as calling them “shit-talkers,” you need to think again. Words have power. Power can be misused and it can be effectively used. I have done both things with cussing.

As to Wes’ concerns that it may be a stumbling block to some people, so be it. Many of Paul’s writings were a stumbling block to folks two millennia ago, and they remain so for people today. Doesn’t make them wrong. I have addressed my swearing around here before, and have mention of it in the “about me” stuff for this blog. If the occasional f-bomb around here or scatalogical reference is going to blow someone’s mind, they can go somewhere else. (No, Wes, I’m not telling you to go away; what I mean is that people don’t have to stay if I make them uncomfortable, nor would I want them to put themselves through that).

One of the reasons “Shit” is right in the header title of my blog is so that people will know right away what they might be getting into. And the fact is that, by and large, I make more than 90% of my points without having to swear.

03
Feb
09

Two-fer Tuesday: Peace by Deacon Blue

angel-fiery-swordChristians are, by and large, supposed to be a peaceful, helping and loving lot. That’s what Jesus set forth for us, that’s what the apostles and other early church leaders reinforced, and that’s often what we have drifted away from in favor of selishness, judgment, condemnation, violence and so many other negatives.

And yet…

There are times we need to kick ass. Not often. But those times exist.

Because, on the other side from the angry, bitter, nasty Christians is the “all is love” camp where Jesus’ words about turning the other cheek carry the day in all interactions. (They forget that Jesus also whipped the moneylenders out of the temple with a heavy rope.)

Never lifting a hand no matter what, it strikes me, is as foolish as turning away from peace. To reject peace is counter to Jesus’ message and God’s will. But at the same time, to embrace peace to the point of stupidity is irresponsible when it put us in harm’s way for no good reason or when it causes harm to others.

Example: If you are being attacked physically, do you just take it? Do you passively allow yourself to be backed into a corner where you will get your ass handed to you, possibly meaning that you could be severely impaired, or possibly crippled and killed? What does this serve? Racking up medical costs, destroying your quality of life, keeping you from being able to support your family and be a part of daily family activities?

Are these good things?

Now, I realize we lift up many people both in the early church days and in modern ministries abroad who were (and still are) martyred. It is one thing to be killed or harmed in the process of doing good work and spreading the gospel. If you are set upon by a person or group determined to kill you, and there is nothing you can do, you will die most likely. If you are taken into custody by a government that finds your message annoying, you will possibly rot in prison or be executed. There isn’t much you can do. And that’s part of the risk of some missionary work.

But if someone, say, comes up to knife me because they don’t like the fact that I mentioned something about Jesus…or if it’s just some random thugishness for the sake of thugishness, I am not going to stand there and say, “Go ahead, kill me.” I am going to defend myself.

Nowhere did Jesus forbid us from serving in the military or in law enforcement, two areas where violence can and does occur, and killing too at times. He told us to protect the weak. We shouldn’t seek out violence, but sometimes it finds us. And even if you aren’t going to defend yourself, what if violence comes for your family or friends? Will you stand there and let them be harmed when you have a chance to strike out in their defense?

This is what Paul tells us in Romans chapter 12, verse 18: As much as it is possible, live in peace with everyone.

Violence isn’t the point of that passage. The message is a more general one about not causing or escalating strife if you can avoid it. But it is clear from Paul’s words that there are times when nothing you can reasonably do will keep the peace.

Violence should never be our first choice, but sometimes, violent means will be required to protect people or to protect ourselves. Within the law, mind you. We are expected to obey the laws of the land, and Jesus made that clear. So don’t start beating or killing people over the practice of abortion and justifying it with this. The law of the land doesn’t define a fetus as a fully living human being, and there is ample evidence in Jewish religious texts, which form the foundation for much of Christianity, that the life of the mother supercedes the life of an unborn child, so clearly, it’s not as cut and dried as so many pro-lifers would like to think. So as much as you may believe otherwise, you don’t have the right to take the law into your own hands and kill people or harm them over the pro-choice/pro-life argument.

Same with being a vigilante. It isn’t allowed. Don’t do it. Frankly, even if you are going after someone who has harmed you or someone you love. Violence in defense, sure, but violence in revenge, no.

And missionary work in other countries where the laws are against you? It is your right to do that, but you know the score, and you know the laws of that land are against you, so if you are caught, you need to be prepared to accept the consequences.

But self-defense when someone attacks you? Yes. Rescuing someone else from an assault or attempted murder in the middle of the street? Certainly.

Peace first and foremost. But intelligence, too. Logic. Wisdom.

I won’t seek someone out to harm, but if a person comes into my house intending harm, I will stop that person by all means necessary.

And I won’t feel bad about it.

17
Nov
08

The Color of Jesus

I have never reposted one of my blog posts before, but with the rise in racially motivated violence by some ignorant white folks in the wake of Barack Obama winning the presidency and this quote highlighted at Deus Ex Malcontent which appears in the story I link to above, I think it’s worth doing. After all, I’m willing to bet a lot of people beating up or threatening or harrassing black folks and tan folks over this crap probably consider themselves Christians.

…Not that I figure too many people who are mad at blacks (or other minorities) right now are finding their way to this blog, but you never know.

So, I give you a re-run of “So White It’s Wrong” from March 14, 2008

______________________________________________________

sayid-from-lost.jpgWell, thanks largely to the Christian faith becoming institutionalized and commercialized by the Roman Catholic church, we got the center of the church body planted in Italy. In Europe. Even though the church’s roots were in the Middle East. So, with all the European artists back in the day, Jesus got a lot of play in paintings. As a white guy. Very white.

Truth is, Jesus most likely wasn’t white.

He probably wasn’t black either. And the afrocentric Christians (and even non-Christians) who recolor Jesus as a fully black man are just overcompensating in the other direction.

Let’s face it: Jesus was born and raised in the Middle East. The ancient Hebrews probably weren’t very pale. Let’s remember that a lot of the people who went to Israel when it became its own country again after World War II were European Jews, which probably explains a lot of the current whiteness over there. And I’m sure the Middle East has paled a bit in general skintone-wise with activity and intercourse in the Mediterranean, especially with colonialist and expansionist attitudes among Europeans that continued into the 19th and even 20th centuries. And even in Jesus’ time with Greeks wandering around the area, well, Greeks can be pretty dark themselves sometimes. All that strong Aegean sunshine.

No, Jesus was most likely some shade of tan, and we need to get used to that. Painting Jesus in our own color (for those of Caucasian and African descent) may be comfortable, but it also is wrong. Making him look European or African is intellectually and spiritually dishonest. And frankly, if I were to cast Jesus for a movie, I think the person on top of my short list would be Naveen Andrews, who plays Sayid on Lost.

Oh, and ABC, for having mentioned your hit TV show on my wildly popular blog (cough, cough), you know, it would be cool with me if you wanted to send the boxed sets for the first three seasons.

(Image is of actor Naveen Andrews)

21
Aug
08

Thou Shalt Shoot to Kill, Sort Of

I did my list on the women who could get me to break the 7th commandment and a post on items I’d steal in a heartbeat if I could be pretty sure I wouldn’t get caught. So now, a post on some killing I might do if presented the opportunity to do so. (By the way, here’s a little explanation of the 6th commandment from Biblestudy.org) For the most part, although there are a couple serious bits, this post is for entertainment and fantasy purposes only.

Why? Because even if I make it obviously in jest…

  • I’m not going to mark any politicians for imaginary death, no matter how slimy they are nor how much damage they’ve caused, first off because I don’t really desire to see them dead and also because I don’t need to be part of some FBI file or have government agents hauling me off for questioning just because I made some silly comment about, well, whomever…
  • I’m not going to say any celebrities should die, even in jest, even if they are pure evil, because then I’ll have local law enforcement on my doorstep and lawyers up my asshole.
  • I’m also not going to list any real people from my personal life. First, because while there have been some folks I’ve encountered whom I thought I might actually have to kill at some point, or whom I might have liked to at various moments, none of those people have registered in my mind in such a fashion for quite a large number of years. More importantly, there are people who read this blog and know who I am in real life, and they might be those people, or know those people. So, even looking retroactively, real, identifiable people from my life are out, no matter how heinous their actions might have been once upon a time.

So, what is this list going to look like? Let’s find out.

Anyone Who Is a Danger to My Family

OK, here is the one dead-on, stone-cold, serious-as-hell entry in the list. If you attempt to do serious physical harm to my wife or my children or succeed in doing so, you are a candidate for immediate death. I will not play. I will not risk the lives and mental health of those I love. Risking my own life and letting your ass live even though you might kill me is one thing. Putting my loved ones on the line? Not gonna happen. Frankly, though, even if you engage me in combat and I am alone, I will assume you mean to kill me and it is quite likely I will try to at least maim or cripple you; and I won’t rule out killing you. I ain’t Jesus; don’t push me.

The Careers of Several Celebrities

Please note, I said the careers. Not the people. I don’t want the humans dead; I simply want them behind the scenes, raising kids at home quietly, taking long vacations, picking up real-world office jobs, working at Burger King—really, anything that keeps them off the TV, movie theater screen, airwaves, CDs, DVDs, Internet or anywhere else they might annoy me. Tops on my career hit list are: Flava Flav, who is now a gross mockery of everything he ever purported to stand for when he was with politically and socially conscious rap group Public Enemy; Madonna, who has reinvented herself so much and jettisoned her conscience so thoroughly that she is now irrelevant and, frankly, is not even a real person anymore but a virtual contruct; Will Farrell, who has officially played the same character one too many times, that I feel he no longer deserves any more chances to try to show greater acting reach in carrying films (I think he could still be a great supporting actor and might benefit from getting back to the small screen); and Steven Seagal, who once had a decent few martial arts, kicking-ass flicks but can’t act and frankly, is looking way too puffy and sloppy these days to be a believable action hero anyway, and even though he goes direct-to-video these days, that’s still too much public-eye exposure for my tastes.

A Few Political Careers, Too

Again, let me emphasize, I don’t want the people dead. Hear me, FBI, NSA, CIA, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security and all the rest: I am not armed nor am I dangerous (unless you’re a houseplant trying to survive in my house). I don’t wish physical harm to any of the people I am about to mention, unless said physical harm comes from God directly in the form of some lingering painful sores for a few weeks. And whose political careers would I most like to see go the way of the dodo bird? Well…

  • George W. Bush: This man made me think for a short while early on that he might be OK and grounded in Jesus. He has proven, instead, to be a completely ineffective and even toxic leader who is short-sighted, greedy, petty and totally lacking in any identifiable skills except running businesses (and countries) into the ground. He needs to pray more, and more sincerely, to get his ass back on track, and he needs to do it in private life from now on. If his daddy, George H.W. Bush, is proud of him, then I have lost what little respect I have for papa George, too.
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton: She showed such pettiness in the race to become the Democratic presidential candidate and such a poor ability to accept defeat (she’s still stomping her feet as I write this) that it is clear she shouldn’t be in any position of leadership anywhere. This woman is not a good role model for women. I could name dozens of other women, political and non-political, to whom young women and girls should look for inspiration on how to succeed and compete with men in this country. Hillary will never be someone I ever hold up to my daughter as anything but an example of what to avoid.
  • Bill O’Reilly: OK, he’s not a politician, but he’s also not a celebrity and he inserts himself into political discourse, so he gets to make the third and final entry of this list. He is an egomaniacal blowhard with no on-air talent, no journalistic credentials to speak of, no integrity, no ability to manage his anger or channel it positively, and he is the face of all that is most wrong about FOX News, and there is so much wrong with that “news” network I don’t even know where to start.

The USA Patriot Act

Aside from being eeriely similar to the goofy name of a really stupid superhero created some years back by Marvel Comics (U.S.Agent), this monstrosity is perhaps the single biggest blow to civil liberties in my lifetime. The creation of this legislation represents the equivalent of crumpling up the U.S. Constitution, swallowing it, letting it sit in your stomach for a few minutes, barfing it up, cleaning it off in a bucket of piss, flattening it and drying it off with a dirty iron, then taking a massive diarrheal dump and then using the remains of it to wipe your ass. The sooner the USA Patriot Act goes away, the sooner we start to look like a saner country again.

Bigotry

I’m just sick of it. From racism to ageism to sexism to homophobia and all the rest, can’t we just give it a rest already? I know we’re all petty and human and prone to things like hate, but what is it getting us? We are all human; can we please start treating each other with some humanity?




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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