Why do cats purr?
Why do we wait until night to ‘call it day’?
Why is Donald Trump’s skin orange?
Why does Village Church ask an anti-complementarian, self-pronounced feminist English professor and animal rights activist (who says that abortion isn’t murder) questions relating to Christian ethics and firearm ownership?
These are questions without good answers, so far as I know. Maybe Village Church can ask Stephen Hawking about racial reconciliation or Bill Nye about the Creation account. Polemics Ministries United had previously had written about the Village Church promoting Karen Swallow Prior here. To recap:
Karen Swallow Prior is known to sympathize with abortionists, defending them in the pages of Christianity Today from the accusations of murder, said abortion is not murder and that calling abortion murder is “unchristlike” (link).
Karen Swallow Prior said that violence towards animals solicits from her a more emotionally visceral response than abortion (link).
Karen Swallow Prior has called for the end of factory farming, “even if the economy of our country be damned” (link).
Karen Swallow Prior has said that we must end industrialized ranching methods even if it causes human suffering (link).
Karen Swallow Prior doesn’t believe in medical testing potentially life-saving drugs for humans on lab rats (link).
Karen Swallow Prior thinks that pets go to Heaven because when you name them you give them personhood (link).
Karen Swallow Prior, according to Animal Rights organizations, was chosen in 2007 to infiltrate churches and influence them with animal rights activism (link).
Karen Swallow Prior is a self-described “feminist,” who rejects the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and rejects complementarianism (link).
Yes, genius idea to ask her about ethics. She has been appointed as a research fellow by Russell Moore for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and the rumor has somehow gone around Evangelical Intelligentsia circles that this woman has something to contribute to sound Christian discussions that aren’t wrapped in 19 layers of nuance and a cloak of liberalism.
In the latest promotion of Mrs. Swallow Prior, she answers the question for the Village Church camera about whether or not Christians should own firearms.
A few observations:
1. Like always, when the Evangelical Intelligentsia says something, Swallow Prior says virtually nothing at all. She employed a lot of words, and for her effort no one is the better or left with anything but clarity that is as crystalline as mud. No one looking for a serious answer received anything more than blind and blathering opining, dropping Intelligentsia codewords (like “context,” “community” and “stewardship” ) like agent orange on a Viet Cong village. She would have been much better off (as would have the rest of us) to have answered, “I am an English professor. Ask me about Dante’s Inferno or house cats.”
2. Mrs. Swallow Prior says, “There are some communities where it would be irresponsible to own a gun if, if, if there is a lot of gun violence, for example, in a neighborhood and the gun is liable to be stolen and misused for the wrong purposes…”
In short, Swallow Prior believes that guns aren’t for inner-city people in areas of urban blight (how paternalistic of her), where there is “gun violence” (which is a loaded term for social progressives…pun intended). The right to self-defense enshrined Biblically in places like the Castle Doctrine of Exodus 22:2, is apparently far from the mind of this literary pedagogue. In fact, Swallow Prior believes that guns should not be owned precisely where guns are needed most, in places where Biblical self-defense is necessary to protect one’s family.
Never mind that it’s those areas like Chicago and Washington DC where minorities are being slaughtered daily due to “gun violence” that law-abiding Citizens have been prevented by judicial fiat to exercise their Second Amendment liberties that are the very communities with far higher rates of “gun violence” than in municipalities where gun ownership goes unrestricted. “Christian ethics” like this, products of university group-think, are not only unhelpful, they are dangerous.
No, gun ownership is only for upper-class white cat ladies in the burbs who read books while their husbands shoot skeet, not for those in dangerous urban neighborhoods.
3. Swallow Prior says, “Ultimately, I think for Christians it comes down to issues of stewardship. We use guns in our household primarily to provide for our family. Because I believe in responsible stewardship over animals, I really try not to participate in the family farming industry that mistreats a great deal of animals and end up becoming the meat that we purchase in grocery stores.”
Someone needs to inform Swallow Prior and the good folks at Village Church, who thought this was a good lesson on Christian ethics, that God did not enshrine self-defense in the Judicial Law of Israel (which is where the bulk of our understanding of Christian Ethics comes from) or the command for sword purchasing (Luke 22:36) so that middle-aged granola ex-hippies could skin their game. Likewise, the framers of our Republic did not give us the Second Amendment so that 21st suburban denizens could avoid eating cage-raised GMO turkeys.
There’s something else here, as an avid hunter, that must be noted. Here in the great state of Montana, I usually harvest around five to seven mule deer (and occasionally a white tail). A full grown Montana deer equates to roughly 40 pounds of processed meat, meaning my larder is full of approximately 200 to 300 pounds of venison each year, which my seven-member family (we do not include pets in our family count, because we are not Karen Swallow Prior) consumes before the end of Summer. Additionally, an antelope or two may be harvested, yielding considerably less meat than a full-grown deer. I became well aware that if I took my game to the processor, at roughly 100 to 125 dollars per animal, it would be far more economically advantageous to purchase so-called “industrial-raised meat” than to hunt. My response to the financial infeasibility of hunting was to learn to butcher my own game, but it is only because I am a salaried employee that I can afford the five to seven days off of work to bag five to seven deer. If I were an hourly employee (as most Americans are), the financial expense of hunting game would be astronomical, and well out of my pay-grade (doing the math, even without butchering expense, it would come out at roughly the same national average price for ground beef and well above that for pork). That doesn’t even compute the money spent on things like hunting licenses and the pricey excursions that hunting often entails (ask my wife). Even including pheasant, dove and turkey hunting (all of which I do) and occasional fishing, dollar for dollar, it’s far more feasible to go to the grocery store and purchase from the discount rack.
I’m glad that Mrs. Swallow Prior is of the socio-economic bracket that can enjoy the luxury of hunting, but she seems to lack empathy or awareness that firearm ownership for the purpose of hunting is simply not feasible for most Americans. Neither is hunting game a sustainable source of food for 300 million protein-needing Americans. No, the rest of us have to make the not-so-complicated ethical decision to eat chickens mass-produced in cages (they’re delicious), beef (which are designed by God to be non-conducive to “industrial farming methods” anyway) and pork. In fact, the world is fed by the very methods Mrs. Swallow Prior condemns, but she has already said that she wants modern farming methods to stop “even if the economy of our country be damned,” and said that human suffering is worth ending “animal suffering” (see links above).
4. Mrs. Swallow Prior says, “I would rather shoot that deer than hit and kill the deer with a car, which is liable to happen where we live.” The humor of Swallow Prior feeling the need to justify hunting aside, notice that the conditions in Swallow Prior’s neighborhood (wooded countryside) justify her gun ownership. She affords Citizens living in the urban blight no such liberty, in an inequitable double standard. Hitting a deer with her car is a justifiable reason to own a firearms, Swallow Prior says, but not the likelihood of having your home broken into. In the mean time, Mrs. Swallow Prior presents an idealized image of hunting as a no-pain process for the animal, in comparison to being cared for and fed and ultimately butchered on a farm. A few captions on the photos below might avail someone of that ignorance, and although those horror stories are bow-related, I assure you I have firearm hunting stories that aren’t much better.
5. Mrs. Swallow Prior says, “Whether or not one [owns a gun], it’s very important for Christians to treat that with seriousness and sobriety.” Thank you, English teacher, for explaining to us that guns are a serious and sober matter. I would give two nickels to see Swallow Prior handle a firearm and see if she knows what trigger discipline is.
6. Mrs. Swallow Prior says, “Gun culture and the kind of swaggering and macho behavior that can be associated with gun culture is not Christian or Biblical at all.” Notice that the Village Church Ethicist Emeritus did not explain why “swagger” and “macho behavior” or her subjective opinions of such, is “unbiblical” or “unchristian.” She gives no Scriptural reference as to why she has condemned this aspect of “gun culture” (another loaded term frequently used by the anti-gun side of this cultural debate) so immediately and definitively. I assume she means something like this:
I could go on with pictures like this for quite a while, but I don’t want to drop more names of “unchristian” and “unbiblical” men than I already have. Guns are awesome. Deal with it.
We show off our guns for the same reason we crank up our music – it’s awesome, and God wants us to enjoy our blessings for his glory. Little more is enthralling and worship-inspiring than the smell of gunpowder and Hoppes #9.
As a Federal Firearms dealer, I understand the importance of responsible gun ownership (believe me, the ATF made sure). I also understand that mere hunting has little to do with the purpose of gun ownership, the Second Amendment, or Biblical self-defense.
The problem with the Evangelical Intelligentsia is that it has little to say, and what it does say, doesn’t equate with reality. Why anyone is listening, I have no idea.
It’s a question without a good answer.