Rev. James E. Atwood (courtesy wilmingtonfavs.com)

The Kansas City Star had a “come to Jesus” moment on gun control yesterday. Only without mentioning Jesus because that would be politically incorrect. The paper’s editorial writers opened the hearts to The Lord thanks to Rev. James E. Atwood, author of America and Its Guns: A Theological Exposé. “Some 30,000 people in the U.S. die each year by gunshot, and one reason there aren’t more effective efforts to stop the carnage is that “the faith community has been asleep — fast asleep,” says a pastor who has worked for decades to reduce gun violence.” And here’s his wake-up call . . .

In his Kansas City appearances — sponsored by a coalition of more than a dozen groups — Atwood, a Presbyterian who is himself a gun owner and hunter, said one of the problems is that many Americans have moved from “respect” for firearms to “reverence” for them.

“It’s an idolatrous belief,” he said, “that violence can produce security. On the other hand when guns become idols we can document how their presence transforms the personalities of individuals and entire communities.”

And not in a good way, apparently. Which is an odd message to bring to Kansas, the state that told Attorney General Eric Holder to GFY on any plans to inhibit Sunflower State residents’ gun rights. Excepting the civilian disarmament-minded editorial eggheads at the Star.

Still, you have to wonder what Atwood’s on about. What’s wrong with America’s love of firearms? Colombia Theological seminarian (and suspected anti-semite) Walter Breuggemann provides insight into Atwood’s anti-gun gestalt in the forward to Atwood’s book.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Wally says Atwood sees gun owners as arrogant racists (and  homophobes) lost in an absurd faith in American exceptionalism that glorifies militarism and inter-personal violence. Validated by the myth of the Western frontier, ‘natch.

The sum of all this is an elemental commitment to violence, a commitment that is voiced in terms of self-righteous faith, but that eventuates [ED: is that even a word?] in a society of extreme vulnerability that is, according to the ideology, the “cost of freedom.”

To which the only possible answer is: I know you are but what am I? Despite numerous blood-drenched historical examples, gun grabbers don’t see that government has an elemental commitment to violence, a commitment that is voiced in terms of self-righteous faith, that eventuates in a  society of extreme vulnerability that is, according to the ideology, the cost of safety.

As they say, there. Fixed it for you. Still, there’s no fixing people who believe that Americans who seek to defend and extend their natural (i.e. God-given), civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms is a “toxic ideology.” Haters gotta hate, even when they claim that they do so in the name of love.

71 Responses to The Rev. James E. Atwood: Guns are America’s Idol

  1. These people are ignorant of the human condition.As such they believe violence is an abberation,and not the behavioral constant it actually is.

    Its only when an individual recognizes that violence is commonplace that they see the relevant daily utility in being armed.

    • The problem a lot of these people have is they refuse to acknowledge a simple fact: violence is such a hardwired human trait because it works. You can alter the behavior of other people a lot more effectively through the use of violence (or the threat of violence) than through the offering of rewards.

      That’s why it’s the go-to tool for governments.

      • This; also why criminal organization’s can exist at all, if law abiding citizens wouldn’t bow to the first psychopath that offers the threat of violence, tyrants on the street or in government wouldn’t exist.

      • Loki says to the crowd
        “Kneel before me! I said KNEEL! Is this not simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation.

        The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end you will always kneel.

        Only ONE man stand up in the large crowd and says “not to a man like you”

        6 billion people on this planet treated as slaves, denied the right to kelp and bear arms, Loki might be right.

      • It’s not just humans, it’s everything. Everything is in violent competition.

        There is the obvious example of predator and prey animals, but plants, too, are competing.

        I mean we all know that the maples want more sunlight, but the oaks ignore their pleas.

        • It is the law of nature, predators look for the helpless, weak and the unaware; the predators leave alone those animals that have good offensive and defensive abilities combined with good situational awareness.

          Everything the gun grabbers want are a violation of the basic laws of nature. All gun control laws do is give the green light to all predators, both human and animal.

    • People are not violent because of guns. People use a gun as a way to implement their violence. If not a gun, then a knife, a bat, their fists, etc. The violence always comes from the human, not from the inanimate object.

    • Lord save us from hypocrites. Do they not believe what they preach every single Sunday that God is all-seeing and all-powerful? If they truly believe what they say and truly want fewer (American) people killed by guns then they need to pray REALLY hard about it. If God agrees the shootings will stop. If they don’t, then HE doesn’t agree and maybe they should re-think their position on this issue. Even if they think the “gun violence” is the work of the devil, wasn’t he also a creation of God and…

  2. While we are all entitled to our opinion, Rev. Atwood typifies many gun owners who lean a little more left than the average gun owner and are willing to compromise the gun rights of the rest of us. “Why can’t we just get along” seems to be their battle cry (OK, maybe not “battle” since that seems violent). The idea that “violence can produce security” is one of his own creation. It isn’t the violence that provides security, but the ability to protect yourself and your family from threats. My father is a pastor and he started me shooting when I was about five. He clearly recognized the idea of self-defense as biblical and we had guns in our home for that reason. Sometimes it seems that people like Rev. Atwood like to throw out liberal ideas about guns, followed by the caveat “and I’m a gun owner.” It is starting to seem like a person telling racist jokes trying to justify their behavior by saying “I have black friends.”

    • +1

      Ugly truth, but it’s the truth.

      In America, the greatest virtue has always been to be rich.

      The greatest sin? That’s easy – being poor.

  3. Why is Christian religion constantly attacked? Lets say for a moment that all pro gun people are the ” Bible huggers “, last I checked, the Christian faith does not condone violence. Last I checked, it was people claiming Muslim faith that flew airplanes into the wtc, tried to blow up an airplane with an underwear bomb, shot up ft. Hood….etc, etc. Anti-gunners seem to see a problem with Bibles that I really cant fathom.

    • I see a problem with all religions because they tend to evolve to an endpoint of “believe as I do, or be put to the sword” at some point in their history.

    • Christianity is through its violent adolescence and has calmed down. Islam hasn’t yet, and we’re living with the consequences.

      • Dont get me wrong, I am not for or against any religion. I just hate when anti gunners view us as corn bred Bible thumpers and the president tells the FBI and nsa that they are not to focus on mosques, while the sub level humans who want to harm the USA hide in that faith. ( I an not saying all Muslims are violent, I an saying that’s where the modern terrorist hides )

      • Violent adolescence? If by violent adolescence you mean Christians being burned, tortured, thrown into roman coliseums full of lions…not to mention modern day torture like in Sudan where christian parents are killed in front of their children, women’s breasts are cut off so they can’t feed their babies…Then yes. Christianity has gone through (and is still going through, violence). If you mean the christian sect of Catholicism’s controversial crusades….that if you study deeply was a “reverse jihad” after the muslims slaughtered a village full of unarmed women and children….well. Yes. Violence. But the the scriptures Christians follow do not encourage violence on others, but rather love. Whether a “christian” follows it or not, that is what it says. And whether other religion’s followers hold to what their scriptures say or not, doesnt change what the scriptures call its devotees to do…and some religions have very violent edicts. I mean you no offense, just trying to clarify the meaning of your statement

        • I was actually just responding to Eric about why religiously motivated terrorism these days is coming from Islam and not Christianity. Christians haven’t been into that for a few hundred years.

          As for “violent adolescence”, many major religions go through an aggressive phase and resort to the sword. For Christianity, it was mainly medieval times, when many a convert had that revelation at the point of a Frankish sword. Then there were the Crusades, when those Muslims absolutely had to be cast out of the Levant, which spanned multiple wars and centuries. It also featured the Inquisition, which was about getting the heathens to confess by any means necessary, and if that involved letting God sort it out later, so be it. There have also been a fair number of inter-denominational holy wars over the years, particularly between the Catholics and the Protestants. So there was a span there of about a thousand years or so (give or take a century) where Christianity had some pretty violent tendencies. But it’s been ramping down for about four hundred years or so and there’s pretty much not a hint left of it in modern Christianity.

        • Thanks for the reply Carlos T. Some denominations of Christianity have swayed from what the scriptures say, just like any other religion. People often misrepresent the intent of that religions writings (good or bad). Or use it for their own agenda….like this guy here in the article is doing IMO. Again, thank you for your insight

  4. said one of the problems is that many Americans have moved from “respect” for firearms to “reverence” for them.

    I think Americans have moved from a “respect” for life and property to a “reverence” for selfish ambition. As it has been stated before, we have a violence problem, not a gun problem.

  5. Guns are tools. Simply that. Mechanical objects that serve a purpose. Hammers, Drills, Tennis racquets, etc are also tools. Guns are man made objects to aid us in performing tasks whether it be taking game for feeding ourselves or our family, competing in recreational sporting activities with others, or defending our lives from personal assault or government tyranny. That’s it. Having said that, I like them, I enjoy using them for sporting purposes and carry them for defensive purposes but I don’t deify them, in the end they are just mechanical tools.

    Wheelgun

  6. “As such they believe violence is an abberation,and not the behavioral constant it actually is.”

    Very few Jews and Christians fully appreciate just how violent the Bible is. The ones who do ususally try to use this as a point against the Bible or God. Man has not gotten any less violent, and this guy seems to want to pool the power in a few hands. Humans do two f-words well and fighting is the other one.

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matt 10:34

  7. Plus, the Christian religion is based on love, specifically the type of love that lays down its own life for another. I can see justifying turning the other cheek for one’s self, but taking up arms in protection of another (one’s family, friends, or fellow citizens) is inherently Christian. From the Christian perspective, evil (satan) is constantly on the move in the world trying to steal, kill, and destroy; therefore, every person should be diligent to fend off that evil in our daily lives. If it comes to armed defense, then so be it–we are actually instruments of good (love/God) in those cases.

    • Nailed it!!!

      Luke 22:36
      He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

      Thank you TEMPLETON…. God Bless you (and yours) Sir…

  8. The bible is not exactly a peaceful book. Entire cities wiped out under command from god, many people killed. Just look at the flood. God may want peace but even he does what needs to be done.

    • To say nothing of the genocide practiced by Moses and his principle general when they reached the promised land.

  9. TO: All
    RE: Rev. Atwood

    I followed the link to the KC Star and left a question for the good reverend.

    I asked him to explain to me what Christ meant when He told the disciples….

    Now is the time for every man to take his MasterCard and buy an AR-15 with lots of ammo. — Luke 22:36 (Updated and Paraphrased)

    Let’s see if he answers.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    P.S. I also left such comments to that effect at the Amazon.com page where people were reviewing the book. One to a two-star and the other to a five-star. The latter being another reverend. Specifically asking if Rev Atwood even mentions Luke 22:36 in the book.

    • Luke 22:36
      And if ye do not have a sword, sell your cloak to buy one.

      In all of the books describing the ministry of Jesus, some of the apostles have swords; even at the last supper where Jesus tells his apostles this command, immediately after, two of the apostles bring forward two swords they had with them.

      When Jesus was to be arrested to be judged by the crowd; one of the apostles cut the off of a centurion with a sword in defense of Jesus.

      If Jesus had been alive today his apostles would be carrying pistols , at the the least.

      Jesus was a peaceful nan, not a pacifist.

      • Jesus also rebukes said disciple for using his sword in that situation. Later on in the New Testament we see the Twelve arrested and persecuted over and over again yet they never defend themselves with violence.

        That’s not to say that violence is never acceptable, there is such a thing as Just War Theory after all, but it is to say that the Christian walks a very fine line when it comes to employing violence. Violence is effective but it is also dangerous and has the tendency to breed more of itself.

        All this being said, it is objectively wrong to deprive another person of the effective means of executing violence, if only because it unnecessarily reduces that person’s ability to use violence when it is necessary, such as to preserve an innocent life.

        • Because to fight head to head against the greatest military power of the time wasn’t the challenge; and if he had, the Christians would have been scattered to the winds like the Jews were when they rebelled against the rule of Rome a few years later.

          The challenge was to change mans heart with love, not a sword; and a couple of centuries later, Christianity became the primary religion.

          We’re faced with some what similar situation today; the current government is the greatest military power of the time. Just like Rome, the people in power are corrupt, degenerate and most have a visceral hate of all things Christian; and Christians are the one class that is acceptable to denigrate, demean and derogate at will.

          Just as then as now, it would be suicide to go head to head against the current government when they violate our rights; which is the point.

          We as a Christian nation would not be in this state if we had stayed true to Christ’s message; the current government we have is a symptom of our sickness in our soul as a people; they are a symptom of our disease; until we correct that sickness by returning to the message of Christ; fighting the government with guns will simply feed the beast AND give them the excuse they are begging for to enact martial law and FINALLY have the reason to pass a real assault weapons confiscation.

          There is a time for war, this isn’t the time.

  10. Last I read, Christian and Jewish men of all ages are leaving the modern liberal religious institutions in disgust and ghosting. The modern academic sociologists are wrong in their claims that women are more religious (or spiritual) than men with the proof being claimed more women go to church than men. Men simply don’t attend because of all the modern era bs that’s practiced and preached in churches and synagogues. I once had a rabbi tell me that a congregation of people praying together helps everyone create or have a better prayer session and connection to God. Really? Not me, I get the opposite effect. I find the best place for me to connect with God is on a remote pristine beach away from people and society.

    • +1 I’ve never required a community setting to connect with god. In addition, my prayers rarely have anything to do with what the preacher or leader wants to talk about.

  11. Since Mr. Atwood insists on taking a religious approach to gun control, allow me to respond in kind:

    As a minister, Mr. Atwood should understand the human condition and that it is Man’s sinful nature that is the root of evil. We cannot blame another person or object for our shortcomings. There may be people out there that revere firearms, but any evil action they might take is not a result of that reverence. Instead, it is directly and wholly attributable to his sinful nature. It is not the idolization of guns that transforms personalities and communities; it is the dissolution of faith in God. Since Mr. Atwood can’t seem to grasp even this most basic tenant of Christianity, I can only assume that he is a fool or a false prophet. Either way, he should not be taken on as authority on the theological (or anything for that matter).

    • ‘Liberal’ Christianity is used by some people as a way to convince their progressive friends that”I’m cool too, guys!”

  12. RF,

    I think we need “a little original (never before published) content”. essay on God’s view of armed defense, any takers?

  13. Another of many reasons I claim no religion. Without religion I have the corupt elected officials messing in my life. With religion I have the corrupt government officials and the corrupt “men of faith” messing in my life. I will seek my own counsel.

  14. Do you know what’s a good way to make guns into idols? Make them out to be special talismans with magic powers that only the ruling class can be trusted to wield. Want to make people stop idolizing guns? Make them as commonplace as possible.

    • Exactly. The gun guys I know who are fetishists about firearms are usually the ones who grew up without them. Those who, as children, were exposed to guns as a normal, everyday object, designed to perform a specific task, tend to continue to view them that way as adults.

  15. I love how all these leftists try to paint anyone that disagrees with th as a racist. History (abd facts) paints the exact opposite picture where denying gun rights was interwoven with a racist agenda. Don’t take my word for it, just ask the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King who was denied a carry permit because the county was infiltrated with Klan sympathizers that were protecting to people that MLK was tryig to protect himself against. How about the NRA opening a range in VA to help protect blacks from the Klan.

    I’d like to ask the good pastor if his support of gun control mean he is a racist.

  16. I do not “idolize” my guns any more than I “idolize” my grden shovel, cordless electric drill, kitchen pots and pans, automobile, television, or any other thing in my possession. They are merely property and the means to various ends.
    What I do “idolize” and revere are my Rights as a rational, responsible, peaceable, moral human being. The demonstrable fact that Government Institutions actively work to deny my Rights by controlling what I may do or possess is the threat that gets me active in defending my Rights, which, to my mind, I should NOT have to do under The Constitution of the United States of America. The fact that I do have to struggle to defend those Rights commits me to fighting for them to the bitter end.
    With regard to Christianity and other Religions, they have devolved to Institutions plagued by all the greed, pettiness and “Club Mentality” of the Majority of Humean Institutions. I have no need for them nor crave approval from anyone who belongs to any of them.
    With regard to the source of the Rights I hold so dear. I am not convinced a Deity “endowed” me with those Rights because the “Representatives” of known Deities always seem too willing to deprive me of my Rights and even my very Life. So, obviously they are not convinced their Deity granted all us Humans any Rights either, except maybe provisonally on the condition I worship the specific Deity they claim to represent in the manner they approve.
    In the end, I am the arbiter of my beliefs and behavior, which I base on my conception of the Supreme Deity and communion with it. I accept the premises that it it not acceptable to kill, injure, rob, covet, idolize, lie, bear false witness against, cheat, hate, ignore the suffering of, starve, malign, envy or infringe upon the Rights of any other human being, except he/she actively attempts to deprive me of my Life, Health, Liberty and Rights.
    So this Reverend Atwood can take his crackpot notions and ideas and put them in a box and bury them.

  17. “On the other hand when guns become idols we can document how their presence transforms the personalities of individuals and entire communities … The sum of all this is an elemental commitment to violence….”

    So does this blathering apply to the police? They carry guns all the time – do they undergo a “transformation of personalities with an elemental commitment to violence”? And when will the Rev. Atwood call for the disarmament of the police?

    If I may go Biblical on the group for a moment, I suspect that will happen when Hell freezes over – after all, the armed police are the government, so they have to be good – right? Just like the IRS, DOJ, NSA, FBI, …..

  18. Who the **** does this Hodor-lookin’ mother****er think he is?

    I don’t care what this conman has to say about anything. I’m not a “sheep” in his “flock.”

  19. “It’s an idolatrous belief,” he said, “that violence can produce security.”
    So, let’s recap: 1776… the colonists have no security in their homes, possessions, finances, religion, speech, etc.
    They consistently apply violence to the source of their insecurity over the course of several years.
    The purveyors of colonial insecurity on American shores pack up their poop in their “ole kit bags” and beat feet for England.
    The personal security of the former colonists skyrockets.
    What am I missing here???

  20. I just love being lectured by “men of the cloth” when religion has been the basis for uncountable mass murders throughout human history.

    Padre, stop embarrassing yourself and STFU. Religion is steeped in blood.

    • That is why “faith” is so much stronger than religion. Religion is man’s interpretation of God, trying to get to God by his own means, often steeped in control of the masses, bla bla. Faith is God’s relationship with man. Its God reaching out to us 🙂 Blows religions mind….haha

  21. This guy preaches at The Little Red Church, their Bible is the Marxist Manifesto.
    Sociopaths always tell their victims that they engendered their own murders

    • No REALLY…..

      ….where DOES he preach? In the famous attitude of the infantry, I’d like to take the fight to his doorstep. Even into his sanctuary.

      ADDENDUM: Found it….

      Trinity Prez in Arlington, VA.

      He retired in ’99.

        • TO: CBI
          RE: Atwood v. Phelps

          So, basically, he is similar to Fred Phelps in using a religion as cover for hatred. — CBI

          After a fashion. But (1) not as obnoxious and (2) however much more insidious.

          Regards,

          Chuck(le)
          [A Nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious, but it can not survive treason from within… An enemy at the gates is less formidable for he is known and he carries his banners openly, but the traitor moves among those within the gate freely. His sly whispers rustling thru all the galleries, heard in every hall of government itself. For the traitor appears, not as a traitor, he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims and he wears their face and their garments. He appeals to the baseness that lies in the heart of all men. He rots the soul of a Nation. He works secretly and unknown in the night, to undermine the pillars of the city. He infects the body politic, so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared. — Cicero]

  22. of course I revere my guns, because that fits this guy’s story, and he’s so much smarter than the rest of us.

  23. The Star is in Missouri, as is that Kansas City.

    It’s a slim distinction, but I stand by it.

    Eventuates? If you understood it, then it’s now a word – at least according to Chomsky. Unfortunately.

    • It’s also a “real” word, as in “in the dictionary and everything” as well. Its use here is incredibly pretentious and ultimately self-defeating because “results” would have served just fine and not have been at all distracting. Eventuates really doesn’t get you anything significant in terms of shading of meaning, so it really is thesaurus humping.

  24. Atwood seems to be engaging in something akin to psychological projection. He declares that others are treating guns as idols to be worshipped. The reality is that he himself treats guns as demons: demigods whose mere “presence transforms the personalities of individuals and entire communities.”

    There is little doubt that his own personality — or at least convictions — have been transformed, but, it is more likely a product of his own excessive reliance on thinking the thoughts he has been told to accept, as provided by a limited set of sources.

  25. Just another fire brand preacher who wants shirtless men walking the streets whipping themselves to show their obedience to the will of his church. My top allegiance will never be toward this man or any man or woman of this earth, and that is my right.

  26. Reverend Atwood like many of his liberal cohorts of the cloth promote faith and trust in government as if it was a extension of God. The Bible says that we cannot serve two masters. Liberal ministers think that you can serve God and government. Human government cannot and will never usher God`s kingdom. As a Christian I think the greatest danger in this day and age is idolizing government.

  27. Well this is certainly one to stir up the pot 🙂 I hold to what this country was founded on. A strong mixture of God, Guns, and Guts.

    • TO: Kristen Weiss
      RE: History

      A martial nobility and stubborn commons, possesed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies, form the only balance capable of preserving a free constitution against enterprises of an aspiring prince. — Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire….

      ….wherein he is describing how the gutless Roman Senate allowed the Caesars to destroy their Republic.

      We’re looking at history repeating itself amongst US.

      Our form of ‘martial nobility’ is found in the officers—commissioned and non-commissioned—of our Armed Forces. We’re not a ‘nobility’, but we ARE martial and dedicated to our oaths.

      Regards,

      Chuck(le)
      [History repeats itself. That’s one of the problems with History.]

      P.S. I blame the vaunted American public education system for not teaching History anymore, for our current blight.

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