After the Newtown Connecticut school massacre that claimed the lives of twenty children and six adults, the National Rifle Association went on a crusade to arm every man, woman, and child in America with relative success. There were several reports of gun-fanatics carrying assault rifles in public as if they were Taliban militia patrolling malls and parking lots, and besides making a statement, they frightened decent Americans. In Huntsville Texas, a man on a mission took it a step farther and wandered around WalMart stores with the same model assault rifle slung across his back used in the Sandy Hook massacre, and besides making shoppers and employees uncomfortable, he belied his religious beliefs and calling.
The man, Terry Holcomb, is a San Jacinto county preacher and his mission was not making disciples of Christ or administering spiritual succor to his congregation, but to protest a Texas law that allows citizens to carry “long rifles” in the open but forbids them from wearing a handgun on their hip like a Wild West cowboy. Texas residents can carry handguns in public, but they must be concealed and they must have a valid concealed-carry permit. There is a good reason carrying a concealed handgun requires a permit; handguns account for most homicides in America according to the FBI, and of the 47,500 murders committed with a gun between 2001-2005, 8 out of 10 murders were committed with a handgun. As it is, handguns are difficult to regulate due to a Supreme Court decision where the conservatives ruled that because handguns are “the most preferred firearm in the nation to `keep’ and use for protection of one’s home and family,” the High Court gave them special protection. However, roaming the streets armed with a handgun is different than protecting one’s home.
The idea of anyone outside law enforcement advocating strapping on a sidearm and roaming the streets is frightening in and of itself, but the real issue is that Holcomb’s demand to carry a gun, openly or concealed, belies his contention he is a follower of Christ and a member of the clergy. It is particularly hypocritical for a preacher to carry an assault rifle in public or want to carry a sidearm in plain view because their job is teaching Christ’s message of peace, charity, and love for fellow man; not parading around like a Taliban warrior. Holcomb did not explain why, as a preacher, he wants to carry a sidearm in public, but it is likely he is opposed to the New Testament’s Jesus and a devotee of the Old Testament. In fact, there are millions of Americans who claim to be followers of Christ even though they wholly reject his teachings, and it informs their identity crisis borne of adherence to select Old Testament verses and absolute denunciation of everything Christ taught.
There has been a shift among evangelical Christians of late to openly oppose everything Jesus taught and commonplace to openly judge people, withhold sustenance from the hungry, deny healthcare to the infirm, and harbor hate based on race, religion and sexual orientation. They have also been fierce advocates for guns that appears to be a fundamental principle defining evangelicals and belies their Christianity they claim spurs them to do “the lord’s work.” The new “American Christianity” has adopted Old Testament lessons of vengeance, massacres, slavery, and intolerance and summarily rejected Christ’s teachings of peace, charity, and concern for humanity. Oddly, pseudo-Christians do not even follow the Old Testament’s Mosaic Law they cite to justify their hatred towards gays, mistreatment of women, and their gross misconception of when a fetus becomes a person. They do not even adhere to the scriptural Ten Commandments they claim should replace the U.S. Constitution.
Although they violate most of the Ten Commandments, they are particularly guilty of sacrilege for disregarding the 4th commandment. It says, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Exodus 20:4-6, Deuteronomy 5:8-10). The evangelicals claiming to be “real Americans” show reverence for, devotion, and service to the American flag with its likeness of “anything that is in heaven above” (50 stars). The faithful also eat pork, shellfish, wear mixed fabrics, work on the Sabbath, and violate most of the Mosaic Laws leading a skeptical person to believe their claim to follow their holy book is one of convenience and not devotion to the scriptures.
It is irrelevant, really, why so many Americans claim they adhere to Christianity when they hardly adhere to any of their bible’s tenets, but it is relevant that they use that designation as their divine right to impose their harsh form of Christianity on the rest of America, including other Christians. Doubtless, their religion’s namesake, Jesus Christ, would condemn their rejection of his simple commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself,” and the Old Testament god would condemn them for violating most of the Ten Commandments. The real Christians in America, and there are many, and real clergy, there are few, should condemn them for disparaging their shared faith; particularly the Texas preacher advocating open-carry sidearms and frightening people in the name of his real religion; the 2nd Amendment and the National Rifle Association.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.