Pistol Packing Preachers

" Pistol Packing Preachers "
Rev. Peter E. Bauer

Rev. Peter Bauer, my great -great -great grandfather was a German Reformed Minister. He served several German Reformed congregations between 1900 and 1920 in North and South Dakota. He was a circuit- riding minister, having to travel between his congregations in a horse and buggy. I'm told that he also carried a shot gun. This apparently was for self-protection against wolves or other predators. However, I was told that he once fired his shot gun in the air to stop an argument that was going on between several of his parishioners. This was the 1900's.
Now in 2015, it is amazing that a church- sponsored university is encouraging its students, many of whom will be future ministers, to carry weapons and use them, if necessary. On December 4, 2015 at Liberty University's Convocation, Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University urged students, staff and faculty at the Christian school to carry concealed weapons on campus to counter any possible armed attack like the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
"Let's teach them a lesson if they ever show up here," President Jerry Falwell Jr, told an estimated 10,000 students at the weekly convocation held on Friday in Lynchburg,Va.
The call-to-arms was met with rousing applause from students, but some said Falwell went too far when he appeared to be referring specifically to Muslims, the News & Advance reported.
"I've always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in," Falwell said. The final words of his statement could not be clearly heard on a videotape of the remarks.
Questioned by a student on social media, Falwell said he was referring to Islamic terrorists. "I was referring to 'those Muslims' that just carried out attacks in Paris and California," he said in response on Twitter. Liberty University president urges: 'End those Muslims' via ...www.theguardian.com › US News › Virginia Dec 5,2015
These comments sadden and also anger me. Encouraging people of faith to be packing weapons and stealthily wait for the grand show down with the alleged other enemy really flies in the face of Jesus who said " Blessed are the peacemakers. " Certainly, the tragedies of Paris and San Bernardino were absolutely horrific and have caused great suffering and grief for the families and the communities affected. The appropriate response by people of faith should be walking side by side in solidarity with those who grieve. The prayerful response is to support those who suffer with presence, perhaps with silence, and not with judgment and certainly not with vigilante revenge.
The Muslim community and others have good reason to feel really concerned when such statements are uttered by religious officials. How does this work for the ways of peace and justice ? How does this contribute to inter-faith understanding and respect and commitment to work for an end to violence and terrorism in our world ?
Some church officials need to realize that defeating terrorism is not acting like you are starring in a Sam Peckinpah western movie. Our job is not to come in town and rescue everybody with guns a blazin'.
Somehow, the Sermon On The Mount gets lost and submerged in this kind of cacophany. Judaism, Christianity and Islam share a rich and sacred heritage regarding their affirmation as being " people of the book." Hebrew Canon, the New Testament and the Koran reveal a God being revealed to humankind in a myriad of ways. There is never a depiction of a divine gunslinger.
Right now there is a great debate involving the policy of " open carry " regarding weapons on campus at colleges and universities. Here in Texas, the open -carry policy takes effect in January 2016 for public universities. Private colleges and universities have had the opportunity to opt out of this policy. What is ironic is that a
Christian university would advocate opting for open-carry on campus.
Jesus said " be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves " ( Matthew 10:16). Somehow, I think we have to get wiser and respond with more innocence and not arrogance with regard to confronting the evil of violence and terrorism.
May it be so now for all of us.