This week VICE news dropped in my feed a video published back in 2018 titled “Guns For God: The Church of the AR-15.” The church is pastored by Hyung Jin Moon, who also operates the Rod of Iron Ministries, and which lists as one of its core values:
“Defending our family, neighbor, and God’s Kingdom through the Biblical Word of God and self-defense culture (Revelation 19:15)”.
Hyung Jin Moon is the son Sun Hyung Moon, founder of the Unification Church.
I’ll not waste too much of your time overstating 2 obvious contradictions:
- Any Christian who has even a cursory understanding of the fundamentals of Christianity knows it is not the role of Christianity to establish a kingdom on earth through violence. Christianity’s primary objective is to prepare people for heaven by instilling within them qualities and virtues believed to represent the character of God.
(Although one could argue that in Old Testament times it was God’s intent for his chosen people to inherit the earth—if necessary through force—to which an organization such as the Rod of Iron Ministries could have helped God in this endeavor.)
- In and of itself, learning self-defense skills such as this Christian sect teaches is not a bad idea. Nor, in this day and age, when many citizens are packing a weapon, could carrying protection oneself be prudent.
(Although it does indicate a severe lack of faith on the part of Christian disciples who claim to rely on God for protection.)
The trend within Christianity to weaponize its disciples is profoundly disturbing. We see this radicalization trending upwards within the church through the kind of Christianity promoted by the KKK, white nationalist groups like those who stormed the Capitol during the insurrection, god-fearing survivalists, and other far-right conservative congregations. It’s not so much the ideological fusion of God / Country that’s troubling. Those who seek a higher power often do so for noble reasons—such as to become a better person or to express love for one’s country.
What’s troubling, is the intent by believers to use deadly force towards fellow citizens who do share their form of faith or patriotism.