Moms Demand Action mouthpiece “Lucy McBath, featured in the documentary The Armor of Light, argues that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not trump the Second Commandment of the Bible,” the YouTube caption under this video informs us. Yes, well, wikipedia.org informs us that “The Hebrew verb רצח‎ (r-ṣ-ḥ, also transliterated retzach, ratzákh, ratsakh etc.) is the word in the original text that is translated as “murder” or “kill” . . . The Torah and Hebrew Bible made clear distinctions between the shedding of innocent blood versus killing as the due consequence of a crime.”

In other words, the Second Commandment prohibits murder, not lawful killing. But let’s take this another direction. What of gang bangers’ idolatry? Don’t these armed individuals idolize the wealth and power exercised by gang leaders and cultural icons of criminality (e.g., Scarface). Isn’t a larger, more important contributor to “gun violence”? What can be done — in schools, communities and yes, churches — to counter that kind of idolatry?

Recommended For You

66 Responses to Question of the Day: Does Idolatry Contribute to Gun Violence?

    • The one of the guy who compared guns and drunk driving disappeared rather quickly after a feature here. Must not have liked the attention.

  1. Ttag needs to get better writers who are more in touch with what’s actually going on in the inner cities. It’s becoming trace like over here.

    • Most of the time Farago is pretty good. Then sometimes he will do something really… Cringey.

      And isn’t the seventh commandment the one about killing? The second commandment is about worshiping idols. I don’t recall anyone worshiping guns as idols of destruction.

      • The part about images and idols isn’t a separate commandment, it;s a commentary on “No other gods”. Besides that, there are several ways to number them.

        But the one about murdering is not second on any system of counting save one: it;s the second one of the “second table”, i.e. the second one having to do with relating to other people rather than the first ones about relating to God. But that’s such a rare usage it’s impossible to credit that’s what’s meant; more likely this is a case of ignominious ignorance.

        • Well, a lot of people have taken to separating the part about not worshiping other gods and the part about graven images and idols. It does make more sense if they were combined, but then it would be the 9 commandments instead of 10. Anyway, I don’t even think Farago or the video (I didn’t watch the video) got it right in the sense of idolizing. In the biblical sense, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with holding a person or thing in great esteem, rather it warns against religiously worshiping an idol or trying to create an image of God.

          But he is right in the fact that the Bible doesn’t forbid killing in self defense. Only someone who has never read the bible would believe that. God directly ordered people to kill other people for a number of reasons in the bible. And killing in self defense would mean killing someone who intended on breaking the “thou shalt not kill.” commandment, whatever number you want to place that at is. The death of that person at the hands of their intended victim could very well have been God’s justice.

        • Reggie Browning,

          Idolatry does not necessarily mean explicit worship of idols. Idolatry also includes putting your faith in something other than God, such as putting your faith in a firearm and a firearm alone to save you. Idolatry can also mean regarding something as much more important/significant than God. Those are subtle and yet important nuances which lead to a valid concern that some people have elevated firearms to idolatry.

      • 6th. I used to use fingers for teaching the 10:
        1) (pointing up) there is one God
        2) (bend fingers, as if kneeling) no graven images
        3) (fingers together in front of mouth) name of God in vain
        4) (pointer and Middle up on each hand, hands together, making a church/steeple) keep the sabbath day holy
        5) (open hand, mother and father are pointer and middle, children are ring and pinky, thumb is a puppy) honor mother and father
        6) (four fingers on one hand, gun with the other, do the whole bang bang thing, knocking down the people) killing
        7) (open hand from 5, two fingers on the other hand, pointers and middles pressing) adultery
        8) (four fingers each hand) theft
        9) (four fingers on one hand, other making a mouth and “talking”) lies
        10) (open hands, grabbing things) covetousness

        Works for both children and adults, you can be a bit more silly with the kids.

  2. The problem ultimately is again, valuing something else and someone over yourself. Whether it be because of Jesus, or because of Gaea, it’s ridiculous nonetheless.

    • “”Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”

      The full quote gives a bit more context. The history of the time gives even more: there was an ongoing revolt against poll taxes in Judea at the time Jesus supposedly said this. That revolt was put down but it caused some pretty serious problems for the Romans to do so.

      Also, according to the Bible, Caesar is a man and therefore naught but ashes and dust. Ergo, nothing belongs to Caesar because he is mortal and fleeting. God on the other hand is timeless, all powerful and the creator/owner of everything. It is reasonable to conclude that the true meaning of this statement is “Render nothing unto Caesar and everything unto God” but that Jesus chose his words carefully to avoid straight out talking treason.

      Evidence that this is the case, and that it is how Hebrews understood the statement at Jesus’ trial. There is also evidence of Jesus choosing his words very carefully. According to the Gospel of Luke: ‘Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus[a] before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.” Then Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He answered, “You say so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no basis for an accusation against this man.”’ Luke 23:1-4

      • Didn’t Jesus first point out that Caesar’s face was on the money? I thought it was more “the money is Caesar’s anyway, but your worship and loyalty are to good and that is more important than the money.”

        • I’m gonna jump between some versions here because I can’t be bothered to page through my Bible right now. As well glossed and noted as I’ve made it it’s still a pain to look things up on paper. My paper Bible is an NRSV. As much as possible I will note other versions when I quote them (if I remember).

          He did indeed point that out just before making his famous statement. That doesn’t actually mean much.

          As I said, context matters a great deal. In the context of the Old Testament people are basically nothing and YHWH is a rather jealous God who repeatedly instructs the Israelites not to put anything before Him, which you can see in the book of Amos. It’s also important to keep in mind that in this portion of the Bible Jesus is speaking in parables.

          Previously in Mark 12 he tells a story about some farmers who are leasing land from a vineyard owner and refuse to pay him. They beat or kill those he sends to collect the rent. Jesus says “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” Now, is he speaking of Caesar? Apparently not because Mark 12:12 tells us “12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them.” [Emphasis mine].

          Now, the story would appear to suggest that when someone is in a position of power over you that you should obey them because otherwise they might kill you. So, why are the elders so pissed? Because this is right after Jesus shows up and starts raising a ruckus. A big part of that is the fact that he’s promoting obedience to God over all other things which is wrecking the elder’s money making flow and causing people to question their power.

          Ultimately Jesus’ message is channeling some Ecclesiastes here. “…because all must go to their eternal home, and the mourners will go about the streets; before the silver cord is snapped, and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher; all is vanity” (Eccles. 12:5-8) and further, “Fear God, and keep is commandments, for that is the whole duty of everyone.” (Eccles. 12:13). Also, let’s not forget that this is following/during the ongoing punishment of Israel for repeatedly disobeying God. They were unable to repel the Romans because YHWH scattered the Israelites for their sins. The true ruler of Israel should sit in Jerusalem. Israel has only temporarily been put under the yoke of others as a punishment. (See Amos again.)

          Ultimately this all rests on the notion that nothing on Earth belongs to us. Everything belongs to God because he created everything. So when Jesus says “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” (NIV)It’s a roundabout way of talking trash about Caesar. The coin is made from metals that came out of the Earth. Caesar has no claim to them because he cannot own what God created. Further, God has given Caesar everything that he might temporarily possess. If you want to see evidence of this look at the Book of Job where Satan (who is one of God’s advisers at this point) refers to everything that Job “has” as something God owns but has given Job.

          “Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”‘ Job 1:9-11 (ESV)

      • My point is even if there is a sapient god and he doesn’t like it, some of us can just burn in hell later. Mean time I don’t need the state to manage my supernatural affairs.

    • Since we’re going to start enforcing the Ten Commandments as the law of the land, what penalties would she impose upon Bill [and Hillary] Clinton for adultery… not to mention RAPE?

      Being an agnostic, I opt out of her theocracy, as well as that of the the Tsarnaev brothers.

  3. Does idolatry contribute to “gun violence?” Dunno. Ask a Crip. They’re the experts on violence.

    Does stupidity contribute to “Moms Demand Action?” Dunno. Ask Lucy McBath. She’s the expert on stupidity.

  4. I idolize my guns. I have a little altar for them, pray to them to keep me safe and make offerings of Frog Lube to them.

  5. I’m going to go with “No”.

    But hey, at least we’re good on the meaning of the 2nd Commandment meaning “murder” and not “kill”.

    We know that YHWH cannot have been totally against killing for numerous reasons including but not limited to the fact that he favored David over Saul and David killed a lot of people. One mention of that being 1 Samuel 18:7.

    ‘And the women sang to one another as they made merry,
    “Saul has killed his thousands,
    and David his ten thousands.”

    • The perpetual fighting and killing in the Old Testament make the modern day middle east seem peaceful by comparison, and God was usually blessing the Israelites and enabling their victories.

      • The people of the Middle East today identify with their tribes and very little with “countries” and “governments”. Those tribes may band together today to fight someone else and eagerly kill each other tomorrow.

        They can be bought but they don’t stay bought.

        The media does not tell you everything that is going on there. If you really want to know, read the Arab press, there are English editions.

        • Yup. That’s why Iraq is effectively three countries at this point.

          The Brits drew lines on the map in the European style without considering the ramifications that would have in the Middle East. You can draw lines on a map and call it a country all you like; that doesn’t make it governable in reality.

          I strongly suspect that this is why dictators tend to have more stable countries in most of the Middle East than does anyone else. Iraq had problems under Saddam but he did generally keep things together by ruling with an iron fist and killing anyone who didn’t like it. You see the same sort of problem in places like the Balkans and some former USSR satellite nations. A totalitarian regime falls and the celebration is short lived. Then it really hits the fan.

  6. Mmmmmm, word salads are yummy. Little Lucy mixes one part stream of consciousness with two parts misdirection to concoct a heaping plate of propaganda.

  7. McGrath is Biblically illiterate. The second commandment refers to graven images (idols). The sixth commandment refers to murder.

    • Which doesn’t prohibit you from reading the bible as history and literature.

      Being an atheist certainly contributes to violence, especially on a grand scale. Atheists are a law unto themselves. Do not mistake the underlying Judeo-Christian limitations on human behavior for your own. The Twentieth Century provides numerous examples on how Atheists put those away virtually overnight.

      • I’m an atheist, but technically I’m also an apostate ( see Hebrews 6: 4-6 ) as I was formerly a practicing / believing Protestant fundamentalist who went mostly to Bible Churches or Southern Baptist churches. No squishy, liberal Methodist or Presbyterian theology for me.

        • Hey, Presbys aren’t squishy; they’re rigid, centralized and dogmatic. That’s why the second or third English Civil War was fought, the Independents (i.e. Puritans) were too free spirited for them. Methodists are squishy.

          My own apostasies include Catholicism and Lutheranism.

      • “Do not mistake the underlying Judeo-Christian limitations on human behavior for your own. The Twentieth Century provides numerous examples on how Atheists put those away virtually overnight.”

        While I see the point you’re making, and there is some validity to it, I have to disagree on the general principle that Judeo-Christian thinking is some sort of touchstone when it comes to morals and ethics.

        Generally speaking the folks you’re speaking of were not simply atheists. They were also ideologically driven statists. As Hayak points out; statism, when pursued by true believers, will always eventually lead to violence due to the nature of statism which demands conformity from a group (people) that is not predisposed to grant such conformity to other people. Non-conformity is a threat to the “good order” of the state which must have control over even the mundane and therefore non-conformity must be eradicated lest people start doing whatever the hell they want. When confronting this problem the statist has two options. Convince the people to conform or use force to compel the desired conformity. People being resistant to conformity often, and in fairly large numbers, reject the conformity which leaves the statist with a single option: violence.

        So, I don’t really see it as having a religious component to it at all. What you speak of is the inevitable result of the road the statist has embarked down. You could argue that Judeo-Christian values temper the violence inherent in statism but I don’t think there is evidence for that. The Albigensian Crusade certainly suggests that there is room for extreme violence in any power structure be that structure religiously based or not. While the 20th Century may suggest certain things about atheists the 13th Century suggests the same of Christians under certain circumstances. In fact the actions taken during the Albigensian Crusade may well surpass those of the 20th Century. Certainly not in numbers but quite possibly in outright barbarity.

        I would surmise that the issue at the heart of all of this is not Christianity, Judeo-Christian thought or really any type of thought, statist or otherwise. The problem is zealotry in pursuit of any goal that involves other people and power of some type over those people.

      • I have nothing in common with other atheists except a lack of religious belief. My right wing political views puts me squarely outside of the “dogma” of the overwhelming majority of your average atheist who are almost always leftists / statists. There ARE conservative atheists out there but we are a minority within a minority. My girlfriend ( who remains a Christian ) and I both voted for Trump and we despise “nanny” style government.
        I support the right of businesses to run their establishments according to their religious beliefs. If Memories Pizza in Indiana doesn’t want to cater a gay wedding because they are Christians, I support them. Also, if Target wants to enact policies that are friendly to transexuals, then let them. If Star Bucks wants to ban open carry inside its stores, then let them. I patronize businesses that embrace my own views and boycott the ones that don’t.
        If my atheism is a religion then its effect upon my behavior is virtually indistinguishable from the views of millions of freedom loving, religious conservatives.

  8. And Lucy had a kid killed(I believe)as I watched the apostate bunch from the so-called “army of light”. Hang out with us Baptists. It’s correctly “thou shall not murder”. Whatever-I guarantee she voted Hildebeast. And I’m cool with some criminal accosting her…

  9. What kinda of stupid BS was that. So under her twisted ‘logic’, police officers (oh – and the National Guard) would also not be allowed to ‘kill’ to save life under God’s law. Or do they get some special dispensation or something? (Hmmm, maybe it’s kinda how none of the gun control laws don’t apply to elitist billionaires and politicians, only us proles) Oh and i guess the NATIONAL guard in addition to being our personal body guards now are also supposed to protect us PEOPLE from tyranny of the government. Hahahaha. And the second amendment was about the Government giving ITSELF the RKBA in a founding document. Yeah, that all makes sense.
    Did you notice her mocking tone when she was immitating the people who apparently all tell her the same thing. Bahh hahh hahh. Ye of no faith cannot use my faith against me. FAIL. Try again, grabbers… next?

    • I’ve seen the video before, it’s quite effective at mocking the hysteria of the anti-gun left but the statement that “automatic weapons are illegal” is patently false. As most everyone on this forum probably already knows, automatic weapons are now classified as Title 2 firearms which must be purchased through a licensing process. As long as this ( unconstitutional ) procedure is adhered to and approval is given by the local CLEO and then the BATF it is absolutely legal to own automatic weapons.

  10. The Bible may indeed trump the 2nd Ammendment…..for Christians.

    Why would you assume that, because I am a white, middle aged, American man that I subscribe to a particular faith?

    Who are the profling bigots now?

  11. Any time anyone values anything more than he values God, he commits the sin of idolatry. Of course, this is an impossible standard and only applies to Christians anyway, so no flame necessary.
    Love and desire for money, fame, power, turf, sex, all of the basic human desires are idolatry. Violence committed in pursuit of same is definitely associated with the theological concept of idolatry.

    Yes, idolatry does contribute to violence.

    • Those who make personal freedom the preiminent concern of their lives are making it their “idol” I suppose. History is filled with examples of those who “idolized” freedom from tyranny ( be it secular or religious in nature ) and who were frequently violent in their pursuit of that goal. I salute them.

  12. As far as anything outside of how you feel realm , does any male actually consider a females opinion worth anything?

    If you do, you are an idiot.

  13. Based on this woman’s poor handling of the text of the Bible, I am going to give her the detriment of the doubt. I do not believe she has spoken to many armed Christians and I call be BS on her use of the word “every”.

    How about we address the reasons why so many people are killing themselves? Cuz that is a huge percentage of the death number related to guns. Even if we enacted all kinds of gun control people, people would still kill themselves w/ guns as almost any gun would do. We would have to get rid of every gun; yeah a fool’s errand and a progressive’s dream. But as I recall nobody is going to take your guns except they are because “commandments”?!

    And even if you succeed people could find another way to kill themselves. And even if they did not they would still be suicidally sad. Gun control does not address issues of the soul. Don’t you care about people’s souls Lucy McBath?

  14. “… the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not trump the Second Commandment of the Bible…”

    Except it totally does if you’re talking about a nation of laws, not a theocracy.

    But since the two can co-exist (hey, put that on a bumper sticker!) who cares?

  15. From what I remembered of the 10 commandments is thouw shall not murder. Killing in defense is acceptable or did I miss something?

    • So is genocide when commanded by God if you have ever read the old testament (note, I said “commanded by,” not “in the name of” which is a big difference). God commanded and, on occasion approved of, the Israelites slaughtering every last man women and child in various cities. I never realized just how saturated with blood it was until I read it myself.

  16. Idolatry is pretty much a slippery slope for lifestyle activists like The Moms. You could argue, for instance, that they have become so obsessed with gun-control that they have turned it into a fetish. And fetishism is as-near-as-dammit to idolatry. There’s not much daylight between the two things. Of course, no one committed to a cause like gun-control would ever own up to admitting that their activism has become an obsession. For gun-controllers, their obsession simply becomes a moral imperative.

  17. Coming from the same book in which a wizard in the sky can destroy whole civilizations (and flood the earth every now and then), “just ‘cuz”? Bad example.

  18. Bad news, sheeple: The state Militia hasandmentn replaced by the National Guard. It is not the Second Commandment, it is the Fifth: Thou shall not murder. If you do not believe in that work of fiction, the Bible, then there is a problem,

  19. Everyone should see that video. Even the most ardent gun control supporter won’t be able to stomach more than 45 seconds of that obnoxious, condescending, self-righteous fool before deciding to chuck it and switch sides.

  20. it is so pathetic that everyone thinks religion settles all arguments. How can anything as gaseous as religious texts ever be used to settle anything? Because EVERYONE thinks their specific interpretation is correct. exactly as it was made to do, fool you. We have a seperation of church and state so it doesn’t F’n matter what the bible says.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *