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Escape of Lot from Sodom

Escape of Lot from Sodom by Mattheus Merian (1593-1650)

From time to time I’ve written in this space about the collapse of Western Civilization that we so going on around us all on a daily basis. And in this author’s opinion, there is perhaps no better illustration of this collapse than the rise of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender (LGBT) movement over the last several decades.

I make this observation as a Christian, and those who do not believe the Bible may be tempted to dismiss my view as personal bias. But interestingly enough, at least one prominent lesbian scholar is in agreement with this view. As this 2015 article from cnsnews.com notes, “Best-selling feminist author, social critic and self-described “transgender being” Camille Paglia said in an interview last month that the rise of transgenderism in the West is a symptom of decadence and cultural collapse.”

Paglia is quoted in the article saying, “Nothing…better defines the decadence of the West to the jihadists than our toleration of open homosexuality and this transgender mania now.”

The article continues, “Paglia went on to talk about her book Sexual Personae and how the emergence of transgenderism signifies the end of Western culture. ‘Now I am concerned about this…In fact, my study of history in Sexual Personae, I’m always talking about the late phases of culture.’

‘I was always drawn to late or decadent phases of culture. Oscar Wile is one of the great exponents of that in the late 19th century. He’s one of my strongest influences from my earliest years. An I found in my study that history is cyclic, and everywhere in the world you find this pattern in ancient times: that as a culture begins to decline, you have an efflorescence of transgender phenomena. That is a symptom of cultural collapse.’

‘So rather than people singing the praises of humanitarian liberalism that allows all of these transgender possibilities to appear and to be encouraged, I would be concerned about how Western culture is defining itself to the world.’ ”

These are good comments by Paglia.  In fact, what this feminist lesbian has to say about homosexuality and transgender mania is, quite remarkably, much closer to the mind of Christ, and far more interesting, than what falls from the lips of many supposed ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ when they speak on these subjects.

The wide-spread acceptance of homosexuality and other deviant behaviors in the West is a flashing red warning signal that our civilization is in deep trouble. It’s so obvious that even a feminist lesbian scholar is able to see the problem. But for all that, there are many who name the name of Christ who are either unable or unwilling to grasp this simple and obvious truth.

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Joseph StoreyFormer Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens has written a most remarkable editorial in today’s New York Times. I hope to do a video on his piece later this week, but for now I’d like to share with you this pearl of wisdom from Stevens. He wrote, “For over 200 years after the adoption of the Second Amendment, it was uniformly understood as not placing any limit on either federal or state authority to enact gun control legislation” (emphasis mine).

Well, I’m certainly no legal eagle. I’ve never so much as been to law school, let alone sat as judge on the highest court in the land. But for all that, I do understand the English language and I beg to different with Justice Stevens.

You see, there’s this little thing called the Second Amendment, and it reads

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed (emphasis mine).

Now my dictionary gives the following definition of infringe: “Violate, transgress, encroach.” For infringement it gives: “an encroaching or trespass on a right or privilege.”

To put in another way, the Second Amendment prohibits the Federal Government from violating, transgressing, encroaching, or limiting the right of the American people to keep and bear arms. Just what part of “shall not be infringed” does this addled former Justice not understand?

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MFOL_Hogg

Student leader David Hogg speaks at the March For Our Lives rally in Washington D.C., March 24, 2018.

They came, the saw, they marched. On Saturday, March 24 2018 approximately 200,000 people filled the streets of Washington D.C. to call on Congress to pass anti-gun legislation which the marchers claim is the only solution to solving the problem of school shootings / mass shootings in the US.

On their website, the marchers list three demands: 1) A ban on the sale of assault weapons, 2) A prohibition on the sale of high-capacity magazines, and 3) Requiring background checks to ensure dangerous people can’t buy guns. Let’s look at them.

According to March For Our Lives (MFOL), “Our elected officials MUST ACT by,” in the first place, “Passing a law to ban the sale of assault weapons like the ones used in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sutherland Springs, Aurora, Sandy Hook and, most recently, to kill 17 innocent people and injure more than a dozen others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.” We are told that “No civilian should be able to access these weapons or war.”

This statement is propaganda. The problem is its central term, “assault rifle,” is never defined, yet we’re told they are “weapons of war” to which civilians should not have access.

But the rifles that were used in the various mass shooting are not “weapons of war.” That is to say, they are not machine guns or the sort used by soldiers in combat. Here, I’m talking about guns such as the Vietnam era M16 or the more recent M4. These are fully automatic rifles, what are often referred to as “machine guns,” which are designed to fire multiple rounds with a single trigger pull.

The AR-15s used in the mass shootings listed on the MFOL website were semi-automatic rifles, not fully automatic. This is not to say that the AR-15 – and just to be clear the “AR” in AR-15 does not stand for “assault rifle,” it stands for Armalite Rifle, the name of the company that developed the particular style of rifle in the 1950s – but they are not “weapons of war” as the MFOL website claims. By calling the AR-15 a “weapon of war,” MFOL is attempting to confuse the public to advance their political agenda. In other words, they’re propagandists.

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Second Amendment

“I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself,” wrote the Apostle Paul to the Romans. The context of these words from Romans 14:14 was a treatment about the proper Christian attitude toward, and use of, food. In particular, it centered around the controversial topic of food sacrificed to idols. Some Christians had no problem with eating it. For others, it was a major stumbling block.

Paul’s point was that meat, even if it had been sacrificed to idols, was simply meat. A Christian could eat of it and be blameless. But not all Christians saw it that way. Some believers saw eating such meat as sinful. Concerning these individuals, Paul wrote, “but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. That is to say, if a Christian was convinced that the act of eating meat sacrificed to idols was a sin, then it would be a sin for him to do so.

This passage is one of the clearest proof texts in Scripture showing that things in themselves are neither good nor evil – “there is nothing unclean of itself,” but rather that good and evil reside in the heart of the man.

Jesus made this same point when answering his disciples about a question they had about one of his parables. He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?…What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:18-23).

Because some people misuse food does not make food bad in itself. Sex is not inherently evil because some men are fornicators and adulterers, nor is language itself wicked because some men are deceivers and blasphemers. Scripture does not seek to ban any of these things. What it does do is to define what constitutes the lawful and the unlawful use of them.

What is true of food, sex and language is also true of guns: They are neither good nor evil in themselves; rather, it is the thoughts and intents of the heart that make their use right or wrong.

One man uses a gun to defend his family and property from a home invader; another uses it to rob a bank or to shoot up a school. Those who seek to ban private citizens from owing and using guns argue, contra Jesus and Paul, that the problem lies with the thing itself, not with the evil thoughts of evil men.

It’s an old saying, but one that holds true, guns don’t kill people, people do.


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Parkland_02

Mourners look at a memorial for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, in a park in Parkland, Florida on February 16, 2018. A former student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire at the Florida high school leaving 17 people dead and 15 injured. / AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISE

In light of the well-organized, well-funded, and unprecedented attacks on the Second Amendment and on its supporters in recent days, it seemed good to me to set down a few inconvenient truths relating to the right to bear arms and the causes of mass shootings

First, as the old saying goes, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” An article in the Huffington Post from last fall called this argument tired, logic-deficient, obvious and irrelevant, but it is nothing of the sort.

True, the argument has been around for a while. I remember it being used back in the day when I was a kid, but that doesn’t make it tired. In fact, it may be one of the most important truths to bring up in any discussion about the Second Amendment.

Guns are inanimate objects. They have now will of their own, no moral agency. In themselves, they are neither good nor evil. Guns are tools as are hammers, baseball bats and pickup trucks. And just as hammers, baseball bats and pickup trucks can be used for both good and evil, so too can guns.

Neither good nor evil reside in the gun, they reside in the heart of the person using the gun.

The Huffpo calls this point obvious. But is it? It’s fair to say that it should be obvious, but given the rush to restrict or outright ban gun ownership by certain groups following the school shooting in Parkland, FL, I’m not so sure it is.

If it were obvious, it should be equally obvious that stripping citizens of their right to bear arms is not the proper response to mass shootings. Yet the gun grabbers have never been more shrill in their demands to limit, or completely eliminate, Americans’ Constitutionally guaranteed right to own guns.

“There ought to be a law to banning ‘X’ to ensure that ‘Y’ never happens again,” on the other hand, really is a tired response to tragedy, but that doesn’t stop people from making the argument.

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