Missouri Church Raffled off Assault Rifles as Father’s Day Marketing Ploy

No. Really.

The reading was from the Revised American Version:

You have heard that it was said, “Love your enemies.” But I say to you, “Blow your enemy’s head off.” Again, you have heard that it was said, “If your enemy strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” But I say to you, “Stand your ground. If your enemy so much as makes you *feel* threatened, blow his head off.” And if someone compels you to go one mile, that is kidnapping and you have the right to blow his head off.

“But Mark, doesn’t the only part of the Church’s teaching I ever read when it comes to gun violence say that we have a right to self-defense and just war?”

Actually, it turns out the Catechism’s teaching on the fifth commandment has quite a bit more in it than just the bits about just war and self-defense.

For instance, there is this:

2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations;111 it thwarts the development of peoples. Over-armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.

2316 The production and the sale of arms affect the common good of nations and of the international community. Hence public authorities have the right and duty to regulate them. The short-term pursuit of private or collective interests cannot legitimate undertakings that promote violence and conflict among nations and compromise the international juridical order.

The tendency of American conservatives to immediately home in on the “When might we tragically have to kill?” bits of the Catechism and translate it as “When do we *get* to kill?” is a huge part of the problem of the spirit behind that church’ ploy. Christ is the Lord of Life, not the Lord of Looking for Excuses to Slaughter.

The church was a million miles from “When might we have to kill?”  Recall that it was a Father’s Day marketing stunt: an advertising ploy.

“But Mark, once we have them in the pews we can hit ‘em with the gospel!”

Great!  Then let’s reach out to the porn addicts by offering lap dances and strippers for Father’s Day too!

Sorry, but the message, loud and clear, of this ploy is that it’s not about “self-defense” or “Just war”.  It means “Mechanized Viagra for men with… masculinity issues… available here.  Gospel optional.”  Lets not kid ourselves that it’s about a Catholic understanding of the fifth commandment.

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