“As a Christian, I have a moral obligation to be capable of defending those for whom I’m responsible.”

Can one of the Bible scholars in the audience help me out with something? I was just watching the WXYZ coverage of yesterday’s tense open carry showdown at Pioneer High, and I have a question. In the piece, Joshua Wade, the 20-something grandson of a former superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools who set this all in motion by insisting upon bringing a firearm and ammunition with him to a choir concert because he was terrified at the thought of being in “a target-rich environment” without lethal force, noted that it was his obligation as a Christian to be able to protect his loved ones.

“As a Christian,” Wade told Channel 7, “I have a moral obligation to be capable of defending those for whom I’m responsible.”

And I’d like to know if that’s true. Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve been to church, but I don’t recall Jesus ever instructing his disciples to be ready, at a moment’s notice, to dispense deadly force. I just remember a lot about forgiveness, and turning the other cheek… But maybe they’ve found some new gospels since then, where Jesus was more of a badasses gunslinger type.

Here’s the video.

For what it’s worth, I’m doubtful that I’ll get a response. I asked a similar question a few weeks ago, when a self-described Christian doctor here in Michigan refused to see the infant child of a lesbian couple, citing her deep religious conviction. I asked the more devout readers of this site how, based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, anyone who claims to be a Christian could deny this child help. And what I got back in response was a bunch of nonsense about how homosexuals should just do us all a favor and repress their desires. No one, it would seem, could demonstrate evidence that Jesus would have walked away from this child, even if her parents may have engaged in behavior he found sinful. And I suspect the same thing will be true here. No one, I suspect, will respond with a story of Jesus telling his disciples to arm themselves, because, I’m fairly certain, no such teaching exists. There is no moral obligation to defend against perceived threats. Maybe there’s a line somewhere that could be twisted to justify such behavior, but it’s certainly not one of Jesus’s central teachings, like our moral obligation as Christians to give up our worldly possessions in order to care for the poor and needy. That much I do remember. Sadly, though, I see little mention of that on Mr. Wade’s various websites… where, among other things, you’ll find him asking friends and family not to join him in caring for the homeless, but to give him $829.99 so that he can buy a handgun and concealed carry classes for his wife-to-be… Just like Jesus would have wanted.

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23 Comments

  1. Anne
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    It is interesting that in Michigan Mr. Wade can’t take his gun, open or otherwise, into his church or place of worship. But of course he is perfectly safe there because as we all know, no good Christians have ever killed anyone. It’s us heathens that you have to be on the look out for.

  2. Taco Farts
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    Is wade trolling this blog? Jim Jefferies has a bit specifically about people who start sentences with “as a Christian…”

  3. Posted March 7, 2015 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Ever see “Jesus Camp”?

  4. Jim
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Perhaps Mr. Wade was inspired by Luke 22:36: “Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”

    But Mr. Wade’s statement sounds more like Samuel Jackson’s misquotation of Ezekiel in Pulp Fiction: “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee.”

  5. Posted March 7, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I wish someone would do a study to test the hypothesis that gun ownership increases feelings of fear and paranoia.

  6. Posted March 7, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I mean, we should assume that fearful people are more likely to own and carry guns, but having a gun might exacerbate already high levels of fear.

    While gun owners claim that having a weapon makes them feel “safe,” they are starting from a baseline of fear. It is reasonable to assume that while the may claim to feel “safe” with a gun, the conscious act of carrying one increases levels of hyper-vigilance.

    Having said that, I admit that I wouldn’t mind having a gun in a city like Nairobi where threats are very real and constant. But there is no city like Nairobi in the US.

  7. Posted March 7, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Jim. I thought that there might be a new gospel where Jesus cautioned his followers of “target-rich environments.”

  8. Posted March 7, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    What’s more, I think it’s pretty clear from social media that he’s not just doing this our of fear. If he were, he wouldn’t be posting pictures of himself with his gun at Kroger. This is about his perception of himself as a brave patriot. This is about politics and insecurity.

  9. BrianB
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Isn’t “target rich environment” the parlance of a shooter, and not the target, even if one is claiming to be a defender of targets? It’s like a animal rights activist saying “save the meat”.

  10. Posted March 7, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I’m a gun owner/CPL holder and I don’t think I’m more paranoid. I have training in pistols and shooting because I want to be able to defend myself. I could take self defense courses from now until Dick Chaney grows a heart (e.g. never), but Mark (or any guy) could still beat my ass *because you guys are stronger*. You are built differently either by design or evolution or the Sun god or whatever…you are going to beat me. The way I feel at least somewhat equal is to know how and when to use a firearm to defend myself. So if anything, it makes me less paranoid to know that if someone shows up in our house late at night, I at least have a fighting chance.

    (And yes, I realize that the chance of some random dude showing up in our house is pretty rare).

    But here is one thing that I realized as I wrote this post. See what I did there? I made myself the hero of my own story. Bad Guy breaks in, I shoot him, I save us all! I’m WINNING. I think some gun people honestly see themselves as the hero in the story, too–like the big bad scary dude comes into the choir concert/movie theater/Wendy’s and is all, “You about to die motherfuckers!” and our hero says, “No we ain’t!” and sprays down the bad guy (or gal) in a hale (hail?) of bullets, saying the day.

    Now in real life, you have to be a really, really good shot to take someone out at a distance. I am a pretty good shot, but I don’t know what I could do under such an extremely stressful situation. Also, would I really stand up while everyone else hit the ground?

    Nonetheless, the gun people still see themselves as the hero of the story. Putting aside all other things (fear, stress), they see themselves as standing up and saying the day. In NO way am I defending these people–not at all–I’m just saying that I think this “gun owner as hero” thing plays into one’s decision to be armed at all times.

  11. anony
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I don’t question the saneness and judgement of anyone who chooses to open carry in a crowd or at an event without a uniform. Nope, I don’t have any questions at all. They are demonstrating that they are dangerous idiots. Open carry in a crowd – at an event filled with kids at that. I leave when some idiot (yes, IDIOT) is exposing me, and everyone else to that kind of danger. It is neither careful or good judgement. I support our general rights to own a gun. I do not support stupid city folk with hand guns in a crowd that is uninformed about the danger.

    Does anyone think of what DOES happen when someone starts shooting in a crowd/event? Its chaos. Mr. Swifty is stupid enough to think he’s the hero. He will probably start shooting back and either shoot the wrong folks or, better yet, draw fire from the shooter or first responders (those with the communication, training, and uniforms). Seriously – this is someone you do not want to be anywhere near. Stupidass wannabees who will get you killed by proximity sure as shit.

  12. Brian V.
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a well thought out & written response to US gun culture from a Christian. It summarize what many Christians believe about guns:

    http://sojo.net/blogs/2012/12/24/what-would-jesus-say-nra

  13. Posted March 7, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    “As a Christian” doesn’t mean anything. Christianity has been around for 2000 years, and its members have included pacifists, warmongers, hermits, kings, ascetics, gluttons, loving parents, celibates, homosexuals, homophobes, civil rights activists, the KKK, torturers, child abusers, scholars, anti-intellectuals, you name it. Like everyone else, Christians do what they want; the only difference is that they quote the Bible about it.

  14. Posted March 7, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, at least for the purposes of this conversation, I’m not really all that interested in debating whether or people should have guns, or whether they should be allowed in schools. I’m just curious to know how someone could start a sentence with “as a Christian” and then talk about how lethal force is not only justified but obligated under the teachings of said religion.

  15. Angela Barbash
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    In family discussion this morning we talked about how rationalizing anything under the cloak of religious justification is a zero sum game that leads to divisiveness and often devolves the conversation into verbal warfare and no mutual understanding. And interestingly, of all the people we know who are pro-firearms, Christian purposes and justification is almost non-existent in their rationale or discussion. They are a minority among us from what we can tell, at least around southeast Michigan, yet they are quickly called out as examples on that end of the spectrum whenever this topic comes up – even though they are the extreme.

  16. Lynne
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    What a funny coincidence! My god tells me to do all of the things I like too!

  17. Jessi C.
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, my priest (I’m Eastern Orthodox) spoke about this and is aligned with what you’ve stated–there’s no need to say things like, “As a Christian”.

  18. Brainless
    Posted March 8, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    “As a Christian” is a signal to the 25%-ers – the neocon ditto-heads who cannot be swayed by any logic or truth no matter what. They are Palin’s “real Americans”. Good lord, you’ve all been reading the Republican handbook for years. You’d think this would be obvious by now. These are the folks who use terms like “libtards” in the comments section on Mlive. (Wow, what a fucking cesspool. How does Mlive continue to survive? What an utter shit website.) They are the vocal minority who make sure that minority Republicans keep winning elections.

    Mark’s point that this was entirely done to make a stink is correct. Patti’s dissection of the hero mentality is also correct. We have all witnessed a media event and little more. These people literally have no shame. How do they sleep at night? They sleep GREAT! They’ve returned to the Garden and have thrown off the shackles of knowledge. They no longer know they’re naked and they just love to waive their tiny little dicks around at the high schools now.

    The true crime here is that this little man decided to hijack a kids’ event for his personal political agenda. I would suggest that someone figure out what would embarrass him and strike back using the same playbook, but the 25%-ers have no logic or reason and suffer no embarrassment. They do not seek truth for they are convinced beyond doubt that already know it.

    Basically, you’re all fucked and slapdicks everywhere will continue to push your buttons. If this guy had been ignored, he probably would have gone home and beat his wife since he didn’t get the attention he wanted in high school. Rest assured, his buddies are drinking lite beer and patting him on the back for showing those libtards what a real man looks like.

  19. EOS
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Maybe he was thinking of this:

    Genesis 27:3 Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me,

    ;)

  20. i am the light
    Posted March 9, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    “Woot,! Woot!”
    – The Insane Clown Posse

  21. Posted March 10, 2015 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    “Genesis 27:3 Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me,”

    I suppose some people might believe that Trayvon Martin was no better than a wild pig.

  22. anonymous
    Posted March 10, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    The Jesus I have come to know and love is a pacifist. This means, in my interpretation of scriptures, he is no fan of any weapon.

  23. Meta
    Posted April 16, 2015 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    “Ann Arbor schools bans guns with new policies”

    If anyone but a law enforcement official carries a gun into an Ann Arbor school, administrators will ask the person to leave and call the police.

    Under a new policy, a weapon such as a gun in a school constitutes an emergency.

    The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education on Wednesday, April 15, unanimously voted to ban dangerous weapons, including guns, from school buildings and property.

    The vote approved three policies that outline the superintendent’s ability to be able to close schools, cancel buses or student and staff events before, during and after school in the case of an emergency.

    Read more:
    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/04/ann_arbor_schools_bans_guns_wi.html

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  1. […] afloat with clergy. And you probably won’t be surprised that the public school open carry guy Josh Wade is a life-long member of this parish. The news didn’t pick up on that fact. Another […]

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