Wednesday, December 12, 2007

WWJD in Colorado Springs?

Eye of Polyphemus, in the course of a blog post on Jeanne Assam, the NRA, and Joel Osteen, asked a profound question - if you were on a church security detail, and a gunman were approaching your church, would you shoot to kill?

Here's how Jamie answered the question.

As followers of Christ, we all have to decide to quietly march into the Coliseum to be eaten by lions or to fight back. It is the point of revelation in which you learn whether certain Christians prefer the Old Testament way of doing things to the New. In all honesty, it shows how much lip service one pays to Christian ideals they do not understand.

I am going to tell on myself here since it appears I am critiquing Christians for being hypocrites. I have never fired a gun in my life. I certainly think I could never take a human life. But in spite of any ideas Christians probably should be pacifists, I think I would have to open fire on Matthew Murray. Lord only knows if I could pull the trigger or even hit the broad side of a barn, but any idea that might not be the [Christlike] thing to do would certainly have gone out the window.

(Incidentally, I happen to disagree with Jamie's formulation of the Old and New Testament ways being different. I explained my view in my comment on his post, and may elaborate on it later. But I digress.)

Here is how I answered the question that Jamie posed:

I think that in this situation, I would have fired the gun to protect innocent victims.

In a December 11 response to a Christianity Today blog post, Nanci Hogan was disturbed by several aspects of the episode, including this:

And when do churches have security guards that are armed and licenced to shoot to kill. Have you all thought to ask the quesiton, what would Jesus do? And what about turning the other cheek?

I really have a problem with the fact that the security guard is being praised for killing the man and that God helped her to do it? Maybe we as Christians need to rethink some of our stances on violence, carrying guns, just war?

Rightpundits has a different view:

Here is Jeanne Assam, a Christian hero and new blond poster child for the right to bear arms. She is the female security guard who killed the New Life Church gunman....

Assam was stationed at the church after the earlier shooting the night before at the church’s missionary training program. The gunman, Matthew Murray, carried over 1,000 rounds of ammunition and three weapons. He had diverted people from the exit doors with smoke cannisters as he entered the only clear doorway.

Jeanne Assam saved at least 100 lives with her actions that day, entrusting to God’s divine help.

And, in a reminder that none of us is perfect, it turns out that Assam isn't perfect either:

The security guard credited with bravery for shooting a gunman at a Colorado church was fired from her job as a Minneapolis police officer in the 1990s for lying, Minneapolis police officials said Tuesday....

Sgt. Jesse Garcia, a Minneapolis police spokesman, said Tuesday that Assam worked at the department from March 1993 to November 1997, when she was fired for lying during an internal investigation.

Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said police were investigating a complaint that Assam swore at a bus driver while she was handling an incident on a city bus.

Delmonico said Assam was dealing with an incident on the bus and for some reason she swore at the bus driver as she exited the bus. The bus driver became angry and filed a complaint.

"In giving a statement about the incident, she was untruthful and she was fired," Delmonico said. The swearing was caught on tape, he said. "The union arbitrated the case and the arbitrator upheld the termination."...

New Life Church Senior Pastor Brady Boyd said Tuesday that church officials were aware of Assam's firing when she was added to the voluntary security detail, but that did not disqualify her.

He said church officials were influenced by the fact that Assam still had a license to carry a gun and was licensed to work at other police departments.

"If you go back in any of our pasts, you can dig up something on any of us," Boyd said. "She admittedly made lots of bad decisions, but only in past few months did she become a devoted follower of Christ. Her life has changed. She was let go, but that happens every day to good people."

Boyd said Assam should not be "convicted or crucified for being a heroine."

"That's why a lot of people don't get involved -- for the scrutiny after the fact," he said."She did the right thing at the right time."

In my personal view, I'm glad she got involved. While subsequent reports indicate that the gunman took his own life, I still suspect that Assam's actions saved an unknown number of innocent lives.

[mrontemp business] | [mrontemp politics] | [mrontemp technology] | [mrontemp tags]

Sphere: Related Content


Judge said...

What would Jesus do? It's simple and clear: Luke 3:10-14 Jesus didn't tell the soldiers "He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword," He told them to do their job with honor, he didn't tell them to turn the other cheek.

And this isn't from the Old testament, this is from the new testament: "Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, FOR HE DOES NOT BEAR THE SWORD FOR NOTHING. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer." (Romans 13:1-7)

Ontario Emperor said...

Then again, Jesus knowingly allowed a man (Himself) to be convicted unjustly. We know that He had a purpose in doing that, but it's interesting to note that He chose NOT to call for help (Mt 26:53).

Our response is, to use that dreaded word, situational. Sometimes we'll fire our gun, while sometimes we'll keep it in our pocket.