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Jul 12 2008

Hey, kids, guns! And Jesus! Find your faith!

Allow me to preface this by saying that I am not against gun ownership. But this sends a rather peculiar message, don’t you think?

An Oklahoma church canceled a controversial gun giveaway for teenagers at a weekend youth conference.

Windsor Hills Baptist had planned to give away a semiautomatic assault rifle until one of the event’s organizers was unable to attend.

The church’s youth pastor, Bob Ross, said it’s a way of trying to encourage young people to attend the event. The church expected hundreds of teenagers from as far away as Canada.

Wha? Gee, what about iPods or XBox360′s? Or do you not want kids playing those evil violent video games or listening to that godless rock ‘n roll or hip-hop? Yeah, an assault rifle is much better. It’s not like a teenager is likely to misuse that.

“I don’t want people thinking ‘My goodness, we’re putting a weapon in the hand of somebody that doesn’t respect it who are then going to go out and kill,’” said Ross. “That’s not at all what we’re trying to do.”

Perish the thought. It never crossed my mind.

Ross said the conference isn’t all about guns, but rather about teens finding faith.

Okay then, I feel better already! You know, when the Muslims give kids deadly weaponry at a religious function, I think they call it terrorism and it’s the kind of thing that makes the sphincters of priviliged white Oklahoman Christian conservatives completely lose their structural integrity. Well, maybe they’re just taking precautions for when Obama’s elected and he throws a huge party for all his Islamofascist friends on the White House lawn. Must be it.

I suppose if this weren’t all happening in the state that gave us the psychotic Sally Kern, it wouldn’t have such a shudder factor. I’d say, “Could be worse, could be Texas,” but I have a feeling this might be an old Texas tradition…

14 comments

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  1. 1
    Ranting Student

    Oh the Church.I guess that had to resort to somethingto get more people to start going.

  2. 2
    rogerdr

    To paraphrase Kirk from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; “Excuse me, why does God need rifles?”Why the idea of gun ownership isn’t antithetical to Christians amazes me. After all, theirs is the religion of, “turn to him your other cheek,” isn’t it? Jesus said, “He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword,” amongst other hippie gibberish (never mind that bit about bringing a sword). Just where in the New Testament does it say that they are even allowed to defend themselves, much less use semi-automatic rifles? I guess they don’t want to die, or let their families die…um, wait…that doesn’t make sense either.Oh, well. Praise the Lord and pass the ammo!

  3. 3
    Shane

    I don’t think it’s that crazy. The solution to the gun problem is responsible gun ownership, and this article seems to suffer a bit from anti-gun hysteria.They use the loaded term “assault rifle” to describe the gun when it isn’t really. It is a semi-automatic replica of an assault rifle. Fully automatic fire is one of the most important qualities of actual assault rifles which makes them actually useful. There is a large functional and mechanical difference between semi-auto only weapons and full auto ones.Calling it an assault rifle just tries to make it seems like they’re giving away some killing machine when in actuality it is pretty underpowered for a semi-auto only weapon. Much less deadly than any semi-auto deer hunting rifle.It’s always annoyed me that people perceive guns differently simply on how they look. In Canada, where I live, this is even codified into the laws. Semi-automatic weapons based upon some arbitrary set of military or “scary” weapons are named specifically in law as being restricted or prohibited just because they look “evil”. Otherwise they would be perfectly legal because they would be (permanently) semi-auto only and meet the barrel length restrictions.

  4. 4
    falterer

    I don’t think that’s an arbitrary or silly law at all, Shane; especially as concerns replicas. Guns are more often used for threats and intimidation than murder, and scary-looking guns are more intimidating. Clearly, Canadian law doesn’t expect everyone to be clued up on which guns are deadliest. People see a gun-shaped object, they react a certain way.

  5. 5
    Rational Jen

    Shane said:They use the loaded term “assault rifle” to describe the gun when it isn’t really. It is a semi-automatic replica of an assault rifle. Fully automatic fire is one of the most important qualities of actual assault rifles which makes them actually useful. ‘Scuse me for being blunt, but this is bullshit. The AR-15 is not a replica of an assault rifle. It actually is an assault rifle. Fully automatic fire is neither a requirement, nor is it particularly useful for an assault rifle. The AR-15 is the civilian variant of the M-16, the later versions of which had a 3 round burst limit in fully auto mode. Why? Because we (I’m a retired Army officer) discovered that full auto is a good way to 1) waste ammo, 2) hit the wrong target, and 3) fail to hit your intended target. If the Army had told me that I had to go into combat with only semi-automatic assault rifles, I wouldn’t have been worried about that at all. There is a large functional and mechanical difference between semi-auto only weapons and full auto ones.No, there isn’t. If you give me an AR-15, I can convert it to full auto in my garage in about an hour.I didn’t see any anti-gun hysteria in this piece, but I did see some reporters asking legitimate questions about why a church would think it’s a good idea to put this kind of weapon in the hands of a teenager. The AR-15 isn’t an underpowered hunting rifle, although I agree with you that there are deer rifles with more power. That isn’t the point. This weapon was created for the sole purpose of killing humans, and the crazy-assed Baptists (CABs) want to put it in the hands of people whose brains aren’t fully developed yet. It’s unbelievably irresponsible, even for the CABs, and it’s not “anti-gun hysteria” to hold them accountable for that.

  6. 6
    Martin

    Fully automatic fire is one of the most important qualities of actual assault rifles which makes them actually useful.To follow up with what Rational Jen pointed out, I think an assault rifle that only fired one shot at a time could kill a person just fine. It seems like the gun is entirely useful.I don’t see how you could read “anti-gun hysteria” into my piece unless you deliberatly ignored the opening sentence. This is a church giving an amazingly deadly weapon to underage kids, and the glib quote by Ross is just a masterpiece of cluelessness. Giving a weapon to someone ill-prepared to use it properly and who might kill somebody with it, entirely by accident, is exactly what he’s doing. And while you might point out that of course the parents of the teens who get the guns will certainly be responsible in how they let the kid handle it, don’t be too sure. After all, if these parents are okay letting their kids attend such an irresponsibly run church function, where’s their sense of responsibility exactly?

  7. 7
    Lobo

    Maybe they should have tried fishing poles first.Seems more symbolically relevant.

  8. 8
    Gralgrathor

    « Allow me to preface this by saying that I am not against gun ownership. »I wonder why not – after all, is there much difference in people doing foolish things because of the beliefs planted in their heads and people doing foolish things because of weapons planted in their hands? Given the means, people *will* do foolish things. It’s only prudent to limit access to those means if they’re not necessary for other purposes – and for what purposes do you believe firearms to be necessary?

  9. 9
    Rhology

    OK, that’s messed up. And to rogerdr, the Bible makes no statement proscribing self-defense when one’s life is in danger and prescribes the defense of the innocent against evil people who would take their life or harm them. Thus, guns. “Turn the other cheek”, etc, is for an individual who is insulted and persecuted for his faith or his conduct.

  10. 10
    PhillyChief

    “Praise the lord, and pass the ammunition…”

  11. 11
    Martin

    gralgrathor: …for what purposes do you believe firearms to be necessary?In a rare case of my agreeing with Rhology, self defense. Case in point: a very close friend of mine, a woman, was living some years ago in a prototypical “cabin in the woods” with her roommate and best friend, also a woman. At one point they began to get sexually explicit and threatening messages on their answering machine, over a period of a several days, all of which became increasingly frightening in nature. Naturally they reported all this to the cops, who traced the calls, alarmingly enough, to a nearby business the girls had hired to do some work on the house. All this aside, the first time they told me all this was going on, the first question out of my mouth was, “Do you have any protection?” And I wasn’t referring to condoms. So yes, I think firearms serve a valid function in allowing law abiding citizens to defend themselves. Rest assured rapists have guns. I’m totally okay with leveling the playing field by letting their potential victims have some too. If someone had intent to break into my friend’s house with the goal to do her terrible harm, damn right I want her to have the means to blow the dude’s head off.

  12. 12
    tracieh

    >"Turn the other cheek", etc, is for an individual who is insulted and persecuted for his faith or his conduct.From Luke 6:"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.""And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that."Jesus is NOT just addressing religious persecution, and he's not just addressing verbal insult.Someone stealing your physical possessions from off your person would be an assault. Someone striking your face would be battery. He uses these examples AFTER he uses examples of verbal insult. He's clearly giving a range that includes physical and verbal abuse. It's a way of saying "Whatever is done to you…" and his instruction is that whether it's a verbal or a physical attack, you must yield in that situation–not defend or retaliate.Even when I was a Christian, I believed that self-defense was not in line with scripture. So, I'm not just being a contentious atheist.If I am saved, and a person threatens my life, then I lose nothing. And by letting them live, I gift them with an opportunity for more time in which they might also come to find Jesus and be saved. I gain Heaven. They gain a further chance for salvation before they die.If I kill them, I have gained nothing. I've stolen any opportunity for salvation from a person clearly in need of that salvation, and I've also done it in a selfish act to save my own life, which should not, as a Christian be so important to me that I would kill someone for it. This life is not what matters to a Christian. Salvation and eternity with god should be the only "treasure"–not something earthly.That was my view as a Christians, and I'm still floored by Christians who insist Jesus would be OK with them killing someone to save their temporal existence.

  13. 13
    rogerdr

    Thank you, tracieh. I didn’t think to come back to reply on that note fast enough.Off topic, but why do you say “gift them with an opportunity” when you could just say “give them an opportunity”? Call me a butthead, but using “gift” in this way grates on my nerves as it seems to serve no purpose other than to use a trendy catchphrase to show cultural or intellectual superiority. I doubt that is what you were trying to do, but the fact remains that you used a noun as an awkward verb, which then required the addition of an extra word. If both ways to say or write the sentence are grammatically correct, why else use the awkward and longer one?

  14. 14
    StopThatAstronaut

    > but why do you say "gift them with an opportunity" when you could just say "give them an opportunity"?rogerdr,there is a linguistic nuance there. 'gift' implies, well, gift. unconditional handover of something. 'give' doesn't necessarily do the same thing. I appreciated it…

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