Wednesday, November 17, 2010

taking more, in the name of religion

Laws may or may not be just in fact, and they may very well start out just and become unjust when the circumstances change but the laws do not. Thes there might once have been circumstances in which the personal right to bear arms was justified, although one would expect a Christian to have a very delicate conscience about such things; but to support such laws today, when the dangers to life and limb from the proliferation of such weapons is as plain as the nose on your face, defied comprehension, especially for Christians.
John Caputo, What Would Jesus Deconstruct, pp 63-64

Could you imagine, for example, a similar argument concerning any other of rights or freedoms of the United States? Let's say that, for example, one thinks that the "proliferation" of free speech--all those books of so many and varied opinions, liberal tv editorial shows and conservative talk radio, not the mention the chaotic riot of the internet--is simply too dangerous, and that it is the Christian duty of all good Christians to stop supporting the laws of free speech, and that it defies comprehension that any Christian should not be in support of some form of restriction of free speech.

You can pick any other right or freedom, and plug it in--freedom of the press, freedom of religion, right to life. It really doesn't matter, but in doing so, one can see two very real facts.

One--Such restrictions are not only ridiculous, but dangerous. And this idea of Caputo's, that Christians should not supports the right of regular people to keep and bear arms, is similar. Such a stand would not make us safer, but would simply put us more in jeopardy--from criminals who will not obey such laws, from those who have the 'privilege' to handle such weapons, mostly from the rulers who can restrict such freedoms as they will.

Second--Such things are already taking place, or have been attempted, or the ideas put forth. Consider, for example, the right to life. One does not need to dig far into history to see how there have been people who have found all kinds of reasons to try to deny that right to certain kinds of people--the sick, those with mental or physical defects, those of other races. Nazism comes readily to mind, but so does eugenics, not to mention abortion.

Or consider the freedom of speech, then look at this quote from an essay called Repressive Tolerance by one Herbert Marcuse...

Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left...

The whole post-fascist period is one of clear and present danger. Consequently, true pacification requires the withdrawal of tolerance before the deed, at the stage of communication in word, print, and picture. Such extreme suspension of the right of free speech and free assembly is indeed justified only if the whole of society is in extreme danger. I maintain that our society is in such an emergency situation, and that it has become the normal state of affairs.

Given this situation, I suggested in 'Repressive Tolerance' the practice of discriminating tolerance in an inverse direction, as a means of shifting the balance between Right and Left by restraining the liberty of the Right, thus counteracting the pervasive inequality of freedom (unequal opportunity of access to the means of democratic persuasion) and strengthening the oppressed against the oppressed.

...and now, bear in mind some of the things that have been done in the past and are even now being tried, to try to silence some people--things like the Fairness Act, or hate speech laws, or political correctness.

These examples are a few of many, concerning those and other rights and freedoms.

Almost all of these attempts to restrict freedoms comes from the left, or those how only pretend to be on the right but are really a part of the political left. Is it any wonder, then, that Caputo, who is on the political and religious left, should say that a further restriction, the disarming of the populace, should to him be considered not only a good thing, but something that he thinks is a Christian's responsibility to support.

Well, Mr. Caputo, should you ever descend from on high to read this, I will only say that I do not agree with you. While I have very rarely used a firearm myself, I support the rights of those who have them and use them--to hunt, to practice, to defend themselves, their loved ones, their property. You say that the 'proliferation' of such weapons makes them too dangerous, and likely you mean things like gun violence in the mean streets of the big cities, most of that likely coming from criminals who would not be much effected by such restrictions anyway. What are laws to the lawless but mere obstacles to be worked around?

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