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Apr 17 2013

Perkins Pushes Latest Bit of Idiotic Right Wing Paranoia

With Congress looking at a deal that would extend the background checks required to purchase guns at a regular store to other gun transfers, the right wing has a new loony meme: Christian are going to be banned from buying guns! Tony Perkins offered his version of that idiotic claim on his radio show:

I’m very concerned about this measure; I am concerned about where it may go once it gets to the Senate floor and what might happen in the House. This idea of background checks is very concerning given the fact that the United States military has been increasingly showing hostility toward evangelicals and Catholics as being somehow threats to national security and people that need to be watched. Well, what does that have to do with gun control? Well, what happens if all the sudden you are identified as an evangelical, bible-believing fundamentalist and the government decides you’ve got to be put on a watch list? Part of the provisions of this background check is kind of a system where if a caution comes up when they put your name in, you don’t get a chance to buy a gun.

The incredible thing to me has always been that no matter how many times the same people make almost identical claims of impending persecution that never come true, they never lose their credibility with their followers. And they never stop and think maybe, since they’ve been wrong about every single one of them, maybe they shouldn’t make such absurd predictions the next time. But the reality is that Perkins is just a grifter and this is his scam, to scare the hell out of his ignorant and credulous followers to keep the money flowing in.

25 comments

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  1. 1
    Ben P

    I’m very concerned about this measure; I am concerned about where it may go once it gets to the Senate floor and what might happen in the House.

    Is he just stupid?

    Seriously, “what will happen in the house” is precisely what I’ve been explaining to every person who freaks out about gun control for the past two months.

    I’m ambivalent about some other gun control measures, but I do think the background checks are a great thing. I’d give a 50-50 shot they won’t pass the house at all, and a better chance they’ll get even more watered down.

    But half my friends have been freaking out constantly about gun bans and etc., I have to patiently explain over and over again that because Republicans still have fillibuster power in the senate, nothing overly controversial’s ever going to get out of the senate, and because republicans control the house, the likliehood of anything at all passing is small.

    Yet, somehow the republican majority in the house is going to ban evangelicals from buying guns.

  2. 2
    davidct

    If Perkins has Jesus, why would he have any need for a gun? He just needs more faith.

    In a way he might have a point. I am not all that opposed to keeping deadly weapons out of the hands of the seriously deluded. This is particularly true of those whose thinking is indistinguishable from mental illness. Unfortunately when it comes to religion the bar for crazy is set very high.

  3. 3
    John Hinkle

    Why would a Christian want a gun anyway? Aren’t they supposed to turn the other cheek?

  4. 4
    Gregory in Seattle

    Most retail gun sales have been subject to background checks for decades; all this law would do is eliminate the few exceptions. How many Christians have been denied a gun because of their religion? Ever?

  5. 5
    Gregory in Seattle

    @John Hinkle #3 – Apparently, one should only beat swords into plowshares. Guns, on the other hand, are lock and load.

  6. 6
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Holy Fucking Narwhal-riding Christ. Is everything an attack on Christianity?

    Now that the military is being called out for officially proselytizing among soldiers, this is an attack on Christianity? Upholding and abiding by the Constitution is a fucking attack on Christianity?

    I am so fucking over all of this. I really am.

  7. 7
    azportsider

    Nigel: “Holy Fucking Narwhal-riding Christ. Is everything an attack on Christianity?”

    Yes. They’re nothing if not persecuted. It’s their schtick.

  8. 8
    Marty Erwin

    Generally speaking my typical political posture is somewhere to the left of the late Abby Hoffman. The one place where I tend to differ is that I hold a very old fashioned and currently unpopular position about any and all forms of gun control exercised by the USA. There is a very good reason the 2nd amendment covers the right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms. The rights of the citizen are not to be infringed in any manner, according to both the very clear language of the 2nd amendment and the details covered in the Federalist Papers. The right of all citizens to keep and bear arms is the only reason we can stand up and exercise all the other rights detailed in our constitution. The rights of citizens to keep and bear arms may not be infringed. If background checks are not infringement, then what is infringement???? Much is made of the wording in the 2nd amendment that calls for a well-regulated militia. Please regulate the militia as seems to be best for all concerned but do not take that call for regulation to be a call for infringement of individual citizen rights. There is peril down that path that far outweighs any damage a rifleman can create as havoc in the public square.

  9. 9
    Synfandel

    Well, what happens if all the sudden you are identified as an evangelical, bible-believing fundamentalist and the government decides you’ve got to be put on a watch list?

    I bet Mr. Perkins would want you on a watch list if ‘all the sudden’ your were identified as an evangelical, Koran-believing fundamentalist.

  10. 10
    Francisco Bacopa

    I have a friend who grew up in in a gun owning family and who owns a gun. He is also the most serious Christian I know. He said that he would never use deadly force to defend only his own life, though he might use it to defend others. He had some very Christian reasoning behind that position: He said that if he used deadly force against an attacker, his attacker would almost certainly have died in his sins and go to Hell. He couldn’t justify believing he had sent someone to Hell, whereas if he was killed, no one goes to hell. He was kind of a Hell-Utilitarian, which is why he would consider it right to use deadly force to protect others, since some of them might be unsaved and thus more people would go to Hell if deadly force were not used against the attacker.

    I think that’s a very Christian position. if Perkins thought that way he wouldn’t be so concerned that the SatanaIslamoCommieNazis are going to take his guns.

  11. 11
    Synfandel

    Marty Erwin @8:

    There is a very good reason the 2nd amendment covers the right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms.

    Yes, there is. At the time there was a plausible threat that Great Britain might invade the United States and attempt to recapture it. The United States had almost no standing army. To ensure the fledgeling country’s defense against such an attack, citizens had to be armed, trained, and organized into militias that could be called upon if and when needed.

    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.

    You might not have heard, but the invasion has been called off.

  12. 12
    birgerjohansson

    Um, regarding to how the right wing interprets reality, I suppose they would see this as a preparation to wipe out english as the major language:
    “To save endangered languages, tribes turn to tech” http://phys.org/news/2013-04-endangered-languages-tribes-tech.html
    The horror! They are opposing the use of english as the only one true Merican language! We will all be banned from talking english!

    Also, the libruls may want to impose a two-week waiting period before you can purchase an eight-inch-barrel nuclear howitzer.
    — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
    Marty, the people in Germany 1918-1945 were permitted to have guns
    A lot of ordinary Russians had guns 1917-1989.
    Permissive gun laws do not correlate with a guarantee of liberty.
    They do however correlate to a lot of spree killings.

  13. 13
    slc1

    Re Marty Erwin @ #8

    Erwin appears to take an absolutist position on the 2nd Amendment so I will ask the question that I always address to such persons. Does the 2nd Amendment prevent the government from prohibiting the private ownership of nuclear weapons, noting that the amendment refers to arms, not guns? A nuclear weapon certainly comes under the meaning of arms.

  14. 14
    LightningRose

    Considering that the US prison population is overwhelmingly and disproportionately Xian, this may not be such a bad idea.

  15. 15
    cottonnero

    Christ, the friendliest place in America to Christians is in the military, First Amendment be damned. If you’re worried about your right as a Christian to bear arms, it’s sure as hell not going to be impinged by the bible-bangers in the armed forces.

  16. 16
    a miasma of incandescent plasma

    Luke 6:29

    And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer to shoot that motherfucker in the head; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy bullet into his motherfucking teeth! So sayth the Jebus…

  17. 17
    Phillip IV

    What always strikes me about that sort of lament is the shockingly low opinion of their own religion it betrays.

    Really, if you’re worried that mental health background checks are going to prevent your co-religionists from owning guns, and that anti-bullying legislation infringes on the free exercise of your religion…then your opinion of your own religion is obviously so low, you’d probably be better off looking for a different one.

  18. 18
    dingojack

    The correlation between the level of gun control and intrusive government* is positively sloped (ie the greater level of gun control, the greater amount of intrusive government) but this effect is extremely slight (<< 1σ) and is an extremely poor predictor of the level of government intrusion (r = 0.003).
    The evidence indicates that lax gun controls don’t protect you from intrusive government.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * measured in 175 countries, all over the world

  19. 19
    martinc

    Marty @ 8:

    OK, you don’t seem particularly deranged. So I’m going to politely ask you why you support such a broad interpretation of the 2nd amendment.

    When you say “There is peril down that path that far outweighs any damage a rifleman can create as havoc in the public square”, what is this peril you are actually thinking of? As a citizen of a foreign country quite similar to the USA (Australia) but where guns – especially for home defence – are very rare indeed, I just can’t think of any situation where a bunch of individual citizens carrying a ramshackle assortment of weaponry are going to be useful. Are you really – after two hundred years of pretty much leading the world in working out how a nation should democratically check and balance its government – still afraid your government will turn on you at the drop of a hat unless the citizens stay armed to the teeth?

    I think it is fair to say that most of the rest of the free Western world are generally supportive of US politics, and in fact in many ways the US has led the world in certain freedoms and social advances. However it is also fair to say that pretty much every one of those other democratic nations thinks Americans are absolutely stone cold nuts about guns. There used to be an Aussie punk band called Arm The Insane … it was meant to be a joke, but if you consider any background checks to be an infringement of the 2nd amendment it seems to me that that is what is implied.

    “The right of all citizens to keep and bear arms is the only reason we can stand up and exercise all the other rights detailed in our constitution.” Can you then explain why equivalent “other rights” are not routinely trampled upon in nations like mine where gun control laws are regularly and uneventfully introduced by the government? It seems to me you need a pretty clear answer to that question, because you are paying a high price for the absence of gun control laws, and you are paying it in the lives of your nation’s children.

  20. 20
    dugglebogey

    Whenever someone wants Christians to not be able to buy something, they just make it illegal for EVERYONE to buy something, like alcohol or gambling. Christians are never singled out, it’s always assumed if it’s something Christians can’t have, then nobody should be able to have it.

  21. 21
    composer99

    I don’t know what variety of Christian Perkins is, but it’s mighty ecumenical of him to at least grant that both Catholics and evangelicals can be Christians.

    (Hey, progress, right?)

    /sarc

  22. 22
    caseloweraz

    Marty Erwin, you call for an absolute right of every American citizen to keep and bear arms, with no restrictions whatsoever.

    You say this will not hamper the development of well-regulated militias, since regulation of such militias is something you endorse.

    You then imply that imposing any restrictions on individual gun ownership will threaten the citizenry’s ability to resist a tyrannical government.

    You are correct that large numbers of citizens armed with guns and competent to use those guns as members of an organized militia would pose a serious problem for any government seeking to impose tyranny.

    But many recent tragedies have made it clear how easy it is for deranged individuals to get guns. So tell me: would you want to organize a militia to oppose the federal government knowing that any number of such deranged individuals might join it without your knowing?

  23. 23
    kantalope

    The ACLU should make a big public announcement that if Boehner and the House republicans pass restrictions on christians owning guns that the ACLU will be there to fight against any religion being singled out for penalty or preference…

    and then we can watch their heads asplode!

  24. 24
    suttkus

    The incredible thing to me has always been that no matter how many times the same people make almost identical claims of impending persecution that never come true, they never lose their credibility with their followers. And they never stop and think maybe, since they’ve been wrong about every single one of them, maybe they shouldn’t make such absurd predictions the next time.

    Now, now, when have they ever been shown to be wrong? Sure, all their claims of impending persecution never materialized, but that doesn’t mean they were wrong, it just means that the libruls backed off in fear once their evil plans were exposed by the brave conspiracy mongers! They bravely warned us of the Christian gulags being set up by FEMA, so Obama had no choice but to back off, wringing his hands and muttering, “Next time, Christians, next time!” The evidence for this is that it never happens. The lack of persecution PROVES that they were planning on horrible persecutions but got caught!

  25. 25
    Ben P

    There is a very good reason the 2nd amendment covers the right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms. The rights of the citizen are not to be infringed in any manner, according to both the very clear language of the 2nd amendment and the details covered in the Federalist Papers.

    The Federalist Papers speak to a general philosophy that an armed populace is one unlikely to have its freedoms infringed, but offer little specific guidance on the second amendment. Other contemporary sources, such as Justice Story’s commentary on the constitution create a parallel between the Second Amendment to the Right to Bear Arms contained in the English Petition of Right of 1689, which had as its express premise, a right to self defense.

    I think that rationale holds up today and that is explicitly the rationale that has been recognized in Heller and McDonald.

    “the right” however, like all other “rights” mentioned in the constitution is not absolute. The First Amendment explicitly says “congress shall make no law….abridging the freedom of speech.” Yet, the authors themselves recognized that “the freedom of speech” doesn’t include threats, doesn’t include slander, and subsequent caselaw has created relatively clear boundaries.

    Likewise, I think the 2nd Amendment will eventually be held to protect a core right to ownership, which can only be limited for a compelling purpose, but that laws and regulations which don’t infringe on the core right, such as background checks, carrying rules, and similar things, won’t.

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