I get a mention in Christianity Today

… well, in their weekly Political Advocacy Tracker.

Also from Sojourners: Justin Fung discussed this week’s ABC story on a weapons manufacturer that inscribed citations to Bible verses on gun-sights it made for the U.S. military. Justin Fung wrote on Sojourners’ God’s Politics blog, “It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me that carved onto weapons of war are words of truth and peace—words from a man who embodied and heralded a kingdom characterized by peace, and from a man who announced an alternative to empire and spoke of faith, hope, joy, gentleness, goodness, and peace. How in the heck do these things go together?” On Thursday, the company announced that it would cease the practice.

Apart from the misspelling, I’m humbled by the mention and encouraged by the quick and responsible action taken by Trijicon. That said, the phrasing makes it sound like I was much more responsible for the company’s action than I was.

By the grace of God, my voice was only one of thousands raised in protest, and credit belongs to everyone who stood up for their faith in the Prince of Peace.

UPDATE: Misspelling corrected, thanks to the editors of CT. 🙂

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“We hunt people for Jesus”

My friend Heather spent two and a half years in Afghanistan doing photography and communications work for developmental NGOs. She wrote this blog in response to video footage of an American military chaplain encouraging soldiers to “hunt people for Jesus.”

Training the military to convert those at whom they point weapons is not only a grave misuse of power, but a reinforcement of extremists’ stereotypes, putting American lives at risk.

Hensley’s language of “hunting people” and “sending the hounds of heaven after them” suggests nothing but conquering; it implies perpetrating violence against, and the oppression of, people created in the image of God. Jesus told a parable saying “As much as you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done it unto me.” Why? Because our treatment of those on the fringes — the widow, the orphan, the alien and stranger … our perceived enemies — is indicative of the moral climate of our society. Our treatment of these is an outworking of the way we love our God.

Jesus did not live and breathe in a political void. Jews had been waiting and waiting for the Messiah to come — for their savior to overthrow the Romans in a violent revolution. Yet Jesus chose not to engage militarily. Instead, he loved and he died. This is my Jesus — leading a life in which love disarms arguments, heals the chasms of stereotype, and makes the feared Other part of the family.

As one of the blog commenters pointed out, Jesus’ words to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:15 don’t often get much coverage from the pulpit:

You cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

“Who Would Jesus Shoot?” Rendered Moot

After an outcry from Christians and people of other faiths, Trijicon has released a statement saying it will no longer imprint Bible verses on its gunsights. Thank you, Trijicon, for your quick and responsible action on this matter.

Who would Jesus shoot?

In case you haven’t already seen this, it’s been discovered that gunsights on weapons used by British and American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are inscribed with coded biblical references, including:

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me that carved onto weapons of war are words of truth and peace, words from a man who embodied and heralded a kingdom characterized by peace, and from a man who announced an alternative to empire and spoke of faith, hope, joy, gentleness, goodness, and peace. How in the heck do these things go together?!

On the website of Trijicon, the US-based manufacturer, it states: “We believe that America is great when its people are good. This goodness has been based on biblical standards throughout our history and we will strive to follow those morals.” Which of course is clearly congruent with SHOOTING people.

Clearly.

No wonder Christians have a bad name. You’d think we’d learned our lessons from the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc. But apparently not.

UPDATE (Jan 20, 2pm EST): Now cross-posted over at God’s Politics.

UPDATE (Jan 20, 4pm EST): If you’d like to sign a petition asking the Pentagon to stop using weapons branded with Bible verses, you can do so here.

Daniel Berrigan: An Advent Reflection

Passed on by some friends of mine, here’s an Advent reflection from Daniel Berrigan, poet, peace activist and Catholic priest:

It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss —
This is true: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction —
This is true: “I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.”

It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction rule forever —
This is true: “For unto us a child is born, and unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of Peace.”

It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world —
This is true: “To me is given authority in heaven and on earth, and lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the world.”

It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted, who are the prophets of the Church, before we can be peacemakers.
This is true: “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young shall see visions, and your old shall have dreams.”

It is not true that our hopes for the liberation of humanity, for justice, human dignity, and
peace are not meant for this earth and for this history —
This is true: “The hour comes, and it is now, that true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.”

So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope.

Let us see visions of love and peace and justice.

Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage:

Jesus Christ, the Life of the world.

Verses quoted are, in order: John 3:16, John 10:10, Isaiah 9:6, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:17, and John 4:23.

Barack receives the Nobel Peace Prize

Here’s the President’s acceptance speech:

It’s one of his most sober speeches but, I think, it’s also one of his most powerful.