An evangelical Christian suggested in a video posted to Facebook that Christians should fight against gay rights with firearms.
Former pastor and current Internet personality Joshua Feuerstein opened his July 9 tirade with several examples of what he described as attacks on Christianity.
Feuerstein, who has about 1.6 million Facebook fans, mentions a man suing two Bible publishers to get the word “homosexuality” removed from the text, an Idaho pastor he says might get arrested for refusing to perform gay weddings and Oregon bakers getting fined $135,000 for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.
It turns out Feuerstein is a little misinformed about a couple of these stories (we’ll get to that in a minute), but it’s what he does next that’s bringing the video -- which has received more than 5 million views since he uploaded it -- so much attention.
“They are coming after our First Amendment constitutional rights,” Feuerstein puffs. “Well, check this out. This is one pastor that will not bow. Why? Because my First Amendment right is guaranteed by my Second Amendment right.” He then brandishes what appears to be an assault rifle.
“Think about that, ladies and gentlemen,” he continues. “It’s time we finally take a stand and say ‘no more.’ We’re not backing up any farther. We’re not going to allow a tyrannical government to try and strip away our rights as Christians and try to demonize us so that they can make the Bible bigoted.”
It should be noted that the "government" is not doing anything to change the text of the Bible. The lawsuit Feuerstein mentions actually took place in 2008 and was dismissed by the courts, Snopes points out.
The angry evangelist’s complaint about a pastor's arrest is also inaccurate. He’s referring to ministers Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Couer d'Alene, Idaho, who filed a federal lawsuit last year claiming that the city’s non-discrimination ordinances would force them to face jail time if they refused to perform same-sex weddings.
However, the Knapps were never actually threatened with arrest or fines, city officials said at the time. Additionally, the Knapps registered their business as a religious corporation, making it explicitly exempt from the non-discrimination law in the first place.
Even if all Feuerstein’s claims were true, though, it would hardly lend credibility to the suggestion that Christians should use guns to fight gay marriage. We double-checked and found that “Thou shalt not kill” is still on the list of the Ten Commandments --and there’s no footnote saying it’s OK if you’re doing it to fight against gay rights.