Friday, June 05, 2009

our lady of firearms

Let's see... no, no guns

So, a Kentucky pastor is inviting his flock to bring their guns to church (H/T Andrew Sullivan). Says our pistol-packin' man of God, Ken Pagano,
As a Christian pastor I believe that without a deep-seeded belief in God and firearms that this country would not be here.
Well. This is the type of story in which reality outpaces parody. The jokes write themselves and it is impossible to tell whether we're reading the Times or the Onion.

The obvious question to pose here, of course, is whether or not it is really appropriate to celebrate instruments of death in a church whose founder preached love and nonviolence (how many people die from gun violence in this country every year? 30,000?). Going more deeply into the story reveals how strange the extreme religious right in this country is in their approach to reality, and how much issues that have at first sight very little to do with religion become sacralized for these people. I disagree with the right-wing's approach to abortion laws and gay marriage, but I see where it comes from. People like Pastor Pagano, however, speak about issues like gun ownership and (I suppose) tax relief as if they were as deeply rooted in Christian scripture as questions more obviously concerned with morality. Fundamentalist religious ideas have had great impact on the GOP platform, and it seems that the GOP platform has become enshrined in toto in church.

The distrubing gun fetishism that makes the NRA so powerful has become part of what passes for liturgy in Pastor Pagano's church. This man, the pastor of a Christian church, seems to put belief in God on the same plane as gun ownership (so much for sola fide) and tie both inimately to one particular country when considering how worship is to be carried out for his congregation. "Without a deep-seeded belief in God and firearms..." A deep-seeded belief in firearms?

Strange. And very, very disturbing.


Jared said...

I've never even heard of anything like this before--you're right, not even in parody!

Jeff said...

I think that's the legacy of the American exceptionalism that's been handed down as part of our Calvinist, Puritan heritage. Americans still have a tendency to see themselves as the New Israel, a predestined Godly elect people set apart for some great messianic mission. According to this way of thinking, if history has shown that firearems have been tools that have been effective in advancing that messianic vision, then they must be holy instruments when they are in the hands of the holy.

As for those with a particular fetish for guns themselves, I've always considered it a sign of sexual inadequacy.

crystal said...

Praise the Lord and passs the ammunition.

cowboyangel said...

Yeah, I saw this. Of course, I saw it, because it was plastered all over the news. Which, I think, only contributes to the insanity.

And then I watched and enjoyed a Melville film in which guns played a major role. So, I guess I contribute to the insanity as well.

Je ne sais pas.

I ran across a quote in my journal from a Tarkovsky film that may apply: "What kind of world is this is a madman tells you you must be ashamed of yourselves."

Embracing absurdity and madness seems the only way to stay sane.

Anonymous said...

Personally,i think firearms are great for self defense & protection from violent criminally insane thieves.