Jesus Goes to Georgia

“And if a man smites you on the cheek, I say to do return injury for injury in kind. Not an eye for an eye, but verily repay a slap a tight cluster about the bowels.

Stand your ground, ye peacekeepers, ye armed sergeants of my flock; be vigilant less thine enemy concealeth. Listen: let not the sun go down upon thy sidearm til thou hast wreaked vengeance and holy justice upon the heretic who insults thy sports team!”


“Prayest thou fervently and loud in public places, even as ye have heard me pray, saying:

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for I am arm-ed; my piece and three 10-clips, they comfort me.”

WWJD? Really? Do we honestly think that Georgia church-folk (and other churched brethren and sistren widely scattered about amongst us) really think they are Christ’s messengers on earth, doing to others before they can do to us?

Mind the Baptists in some southern quarters. If they can’t save your soul, they might just decide you don’t warrant any more of God’s grace and send you on to a very hot place.

It is a hard, hard time to call one’s self a Christian when this–and so many more bad examples make such easy work for Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher. The faith is getting a lot of well-deserved contempt, and the “liberal media” does not have to make this stuff up.

Sorry, Jesus. I think you probably had something else in mind with the turn the other cheek thing.

Georgia adopts law allowing guns at airports, bars, most other places (+video) –

Georgia’s Sweeping Gun Law Sparks Religious Backlash |

[su_note note_color=”#e1ded8″ text_color=”#49491a”]NOTE: this image of Christ (the REAL Jesus from Warner Sallaman’s official portraits) with a gun belt and holster under his flowing white robes came to me for some strange reason while I was in the shower. The absurdity of it required I create the bizarre jolting image in my head. [/su_note]


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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Not to pick on Georgia: there are at least a half dozen other states that have calibre-envy. Want to be we’ll see copy-cat calls for Christian soldiers elsewhere soon?

    And not to pick on the faithful; some of us within the faith just hold the mangy flock to a higher standard, and are growing numb to news of any blooming thing done in the name of Jehovah/Allah/Yahweh. Father, forgive them…

    I regret how often these bad apples lead to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There are horrible examples of tainted behavior by those in all arenas–politics, education, entertainment, sports. But we don’t come down on television or chalk and talk of abolishing college football.

  2. I’m sure it gets painful to you to hear southern religion razzed in the press, Fred. There are unflattering stereotypes out there, for sure. You just have to chalk it up to Yankee ignorance when you get lumped unfairly. I blame the NRA and only them for this idiocy.

  3. It’s a funny post, but to be honest, it seems like a pretty weak link to me. Yes, some Christians carry guns. Others do not. No, Christ did not carry a weapon. Quite the opposite. In fact, He carried no money, no possessions of any kind other than the clothes on His back. But do you carry a wallet? Christ certainly didn’t. Do you own a home? A car? Most of us don’t think that providing for our own shelter, transportation and financial security is contrary to Christianity. Yet, didn’t he say to consider the lilies?

    Do I carry a gun in church? Of course not. Do I sometimes carry one when I know I’m going to be in a high crime area? Yep. Does Christ object to this? I don’t think so. But to each their own.

  4. Hi Virg…

    I didn’t invent the WWJD meme but think it’s legit intention (other than to be made into T-shirts and bumper stickers) is to suggest that Christians who want to follow Christ consider need not worry about avoiding things he didn’t eat or wear but that they line up with what he told us about relationships.

    I can’t find anywhere that Christians are told that they are to put their lives and well-being so far out front that they may kill (and ostensibly send a soul to hell) or permanently cripple another as a way of protecting themselves.

    in the end, we do whatever our lesser natures urge us to do, then find justification for it from our “sacred” documents.

    Legalizing guns in church (those who live by the sword…) seems a bizarre distortion of what Christ taught about our witness in the world.

  5. It seems a bit extreme to me to believe that, if placed the albeit extremely unlikely situation that someone was actually threatening my life, that Jesus expects me to simply allow him to do so.

  6. VIrg, you never said if you were a Christian, so I don’t know what your moral frame of reference is. However, after fifty years of watching good guys shoot bad guys, we’ve made killing another –in theory–something we feel ourselves to be capable of and for which we would feel justified under circumstances of threat, of my life (as a Christian whose soul is sealed) or another’s (who we have to assume may be doomed to eternal separation from God.)

    The question is not as casual as we flippantly imagine it to be.

    I’d suggest you might take a look at this book (at least the reviews on Good Reads) as it my shed some new light on the reflexive impulse to take another’s life.

    What Would You Do? by John Howard Yoder – Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

  7. Fred, I am a follower of Christ. My faith is as deep and heartfelt as I’m sure yours is.

    I do find it interesting though that there are those on both sides of many of the issues of the day that want to stretch Christ’s words to suit their preconceptions on a subject. We’re all guilty of it. And we like to discuss certain parts of His message…..but others….well, we’d rather skip those parts. I know I’m guilty of it.

    Jesus said to be meek and slow to anger…..To turn the other cheek….If someone wants your shirt, to give him your cloak as well. As I would do, and have done. However, nowhere does He say, “If someone wishes to kill you, thou must let them”….or “If a man attempts to harm your wife, offer him your daughter as well”.

    You assume that someone who asserts a right to self defense harbors a “reflexive impulse to take another’s life”. It’s your website, and you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, so I won’t argue theology with you. But be careful, your moral superiority is showing. Just because you’ve given careful thought to a question and have come to a certain conclusion doesn’t mean that I haven’t simply because I disagree.

    I assure you, I do not take this question to be casual, nor was I trying to be flippant. My point was that you were snidely slamming your fellow believers based on a news article. It wasn’t clear to me that any of them had even asked for this. My guess is it had more to do with the agenda of a GA state lawmaker than anything else.

  8. My fellow believers in the next county carry guns to church. The greeters and the minister are packing. Now I see it encouraged with state-level law and in the national headline. This reflects badly, I think, on our mission to be peacemakers.

    Virg, If you’d like to say more about how we are to be salt and light in a broken world based on what Christ taught and modeled, please find my email on this page to continue the conversation. And thanks for being the ONLY reader to care enough to engage in conversation.

  9. Virg and Fred, Thanks for your thoughtful dialogue. Virg, I think you must be a real peacemaker. Your tone was so respectful. I am not a supporter of gun rights, so reading your words was calming to my negative feelings. It’s only people like you who can bring moderaation to the NRA, not folks like me and Fred.

  10. Thank you Kathy. Your words are respectful as well. I believe there are more thoughtful people on both sides of the gun debate (as well as others) than most of us want to believe. Unfortunately, emotion and volume usually takes the place of thoughtful reason.