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It’s morally wrong to say “It’s morally wrong for a Christian school to arm faculty”

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Pantego Christian Academy, a private Christian school in Texas, has announced that, in order to protect the students entrusted to the school’s care each day, several administrators will now be packing heat. Each administrator “who double as a school marshal will carry a concealed handgun, will have extensive weapons and scenario-training from the state and undergo a psychiatric evaluation” (foxnews.com).

Dr. Jeff Potts, the school’s president, stated:

We are arming select individuals who meet certain criteria. And they are administrative type people who are in close proximity to all of our classrooms.

It’s not Florida. It’s the culture today, and it’s something we felt led to do.

One former Pantego Christian Academy student did not welcome this news. Ryan Waller is an assistant rector at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, TX. Waller authored a March 2nd, 2018, article at the Dallas Morning News entitled, “It’s morally wrong for a Christian school to arm faculty.”

According to Waller, “Pantego’s decision to arm administrators with guns is not only ill-advised, it is morally reprehensible,” (emphasis mine).

 

Waller begins by presenting his own, secular arguments.

“It is the job of law enforcement and other security professionals to keep us safe,” he stated. Using a firearm is “problematic and complicated, even for professionals.”

For this reason, rather than allowing trained administrators to carry a firearm on school grounds in case of an emergency, Waller pleaded:

This is a time to trust the system and allow it to adjust. Let’s change gun laws. Let’s support police. Let’s praise companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods for stopping the sale of weapons meant only for war… Let’s not put more guns in schools.

The assistant rector did not attempt to reconcile the incongruity of relying upon law enforcement for protection while insisting on the prohibition of firearms; a firearm being a necessary feature of every law enforcement officer’s ensemble.

He also did not address the massive system-wide failure that enabled the school shooting in Florida to take place.

 

Waller then entered the theological realm:

I make one final appeal as a Christian priest. There’s nothing safe about being a Christian. Jesus Christ himself said that if we are to follow him we must pick up our cross and deny ourselves. When violence came for Jesus, he offered no defense of himself and instructed those around him to also resist a defense.

I’m not a true pacifist. I wish I was but I’m not. I believe there’s a time for fighting and for war. I support not only the police but also the armed forces. But as Christians we must allow those trained in the art of warfare to engage in war. Our role is to do what Jesus called us to do. Be his hands and feet. Feed the poor. Care for the widow and orphan.

Waller concluded his article with one final exhortation: “And may God bless America as it decides what kind of nation it hopes to be.”

 

My take:

Here’s my take, summed up into a single sentence: It’s morally wrong to say that “it’s morally wrong for a Christian school to arm faculty.”

Ryan Waller might be a lovely man. Unfortunately, I’d never know it from reading his article. Waller’s ease and confidence in twisting scripture and omitting context mirrors the deceptive acts of the most notorious profiteering, sleazy TV evangelists.

I take no issue with the assistant rector voicing his opinion – his opinion.

I do, however, object to Waller’s abuse of Holy Scripture and Waller’s exploitation of his own religious title in order to disguise his personal, political agenda by concealing it beneath the cloak of religion.

 

There are several issues regarding Waller’s theological arguments that must be unpacked…

First, Ryan Waller is correct to state that the world is unsafe for Christians. Christ specifically said that those who follow him will be hated by those who rebel against God (John 15:18). We should expect this hatred to manifest in various forms of religious persecution, including martyrdom.

However, the fact that Christians live in a hostile world is in no way an excuse for nor a directive to refrain from the defense of self or from the defense of children entrusted to one’s care.

Second, Waller correctly stated that Christians are to deny the self and carry one’s cross. In Luke 9:23, Christ stated, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily.” With these words, Jesus explained that to be His followers we must commit daily to faith and obedience, “even to the point of being shamed and persecuted by the world” (Orthodox Study Bible).

However, neither denying one’s selfish plans and desires nor the daily bearing of one’s own cross are in any way an excuse for nor a directive to refrain from the defense of self or from the defense of children entrusted to one’s care.

Third, Waller’s statement that, “When violence came for Jesus, he offered no defense of himself and instructed those around him to also resist a defense,” is wholly misleading.

Let’s examine the actual Scriptures (John 18:3-11):

3Judas led some soldiers and some men who had been sent by the head religious leaders of the Jews and the proud religious law-keepers to the garden. They carried lamps and sticks that were burning and swords.

4Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him. He went out and asked them, “Who are you looking for?”

5The soldiers answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Jesus said, “I am Jesus.” Judas, who was handing Him over, was with them also.

6When He said to them, “I am Jesus,” they stepped back and fell to the ground.

7He asked them again, “Who are you looking for?”

They said again, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

8He said, “I have told you that I am Jesus. If you are looking for Me, let these men go their way.” 9He said this so the words he spoke might happen, “I have not lost one of those You gave Me.”

10Simon Peter had a sword. He took it and hit a servant who was owned by the head religious leader and cut off his right ear. 11Then Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back where it belongs. Am I not to go through what My Father has given Me to go through?”

Here, Jesus interrupts Peter’s physical defense, because it interfered with the completion of Christ’s mission to lay down His life so that Christians may have salvation, life everlasting. Jesus’s words to Simon Peter that night in the Garden of Gethsemane were in no way an infinite command to all future generations.

Christ’s words were not an excuse for nor a directive upon humanus infinitum to refrain from the defense of self or from the defense of children entrusted to one’s care.

In fact, “the idea that one is required to surrender his life – or the lives of his family, neighbors, or even strangers – in the face of armed attack is alien to scripture” (David French, National Review).

Does caring for the widow and for the orphan not entail the preservation of life?

Jesus is not a new, separate “god,” one at war with His Father or with the Old Testament scriptures. The Old Testament’s rests great emphasis upon the value of life, including the right to defend oneself and others from bodily harm (Nehemiah 4:14 is just one example). This reverence for life is present in the New Testament as well. For instance, it was at the Last Super when Christ instructed His disciples, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one,” (Luke 22:36) (emphasis mine).

This brings me to my fourth and final point: Waller never presents theological evidence to support his thesis that it is immoral for faculty and administrators to be armed in defense of students. Christ’s disciples were themselves teachers of the Word and good news. This thought appears to have escaped the assistant rector altogether.

Ryan Waller is quick to launch the barb of moral reprehensibility at Pantego Christian Academy, and by default, at all Christian schools who choose to follow Pantego’s lead.

Yet, to read Waller’s article one may be led to believe that Christ was a pacifist – He wasn’t – and that Christians should simply do nothing in the event of a school shooting, but passively accept our demise and the demise of countless children via the bullets of a madman…  as the minutes pass by before the first law enforcement officer arrives.

To use Waller’s own words: His decision to twist scripture and omit context in order to lend credence to his personal, political opinion, draping non-theological sentiments in the cloak of religion, “is not only ill-advised, it is morally reprehensible.”

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Patrick McHargue

    March 16, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Well written! God did not give us life so that someone else could take it from us.

    • Paige Rogers

      March 18, 2018 at 11:37 pm

      Thank you, Patrick.

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Culture and Religion

A guide to classical liberalism

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A guide to classical liberalism

The modern interpretation of the ideology known as “liberalism” is usually associated with the progressive left. Despite the roots of true liberalism – individualism, Natural Rights, and liberty itself – the modern understanding of liberalism has been skewed to make people think more of illiberal politicians like Bernie Sanders instead of Constitutional originalists like Antonin Scalia as liberals.

This 27-minute video does a fine job of breaking down the historical ideas that brought about classical liberalism and the men who brought them to light. It also accurately points out that equality of opportunity for individuals is necessary for a modern society, thus it was this mentality that brought about the end of slavery and the promotion of women’s rights.

From John Locke to James Madison, from the thinkers of Great Britain to the founding fathers of the United States, this video from The Academic Agent brings us through the history of classical liberalism.

For a brief introduction we posted a shorter video earlier:

What classical liberalism is, briefly

http://noqreport.com/2018/12/12/classical-liberalism-briefly/The progressive left and the Democratic Party have undergone many transformations over the last century. They’ve masterfully spun American understanding of language and labels to the point that history has been in a constant state of being rewritten to conform to their machinations. One of the most perverse examples of this is how they now claim the mantle of “liberalism.”

Sadly, those who embrace Natural Rights, limited government, and individualism have been forced to amend our label as liberals to become “classical liberals” for the sake of escaping confusion. Most Americans today would assume if we call ourselves “liberals” that we must be big fans of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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Culture and Religion

Fine-tuning and incredible calibration points to creation over random chance

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Fine-tuning and incredible calibration points to creation over random chance

Homicide investigator J. Warner Wallace is familiar with looking for tampering. His job makes him look for things that don’t fit. At his core, he is forced to ask questions about the various situations he investigates in order to see where the evidence points.

When he’s not catching bad guys, he’s a Christian apologist. In this role, he utilizes the same skills he’s honed over the decades as an investigator to demonstrate why it makes much more sense to believe in creation than a randomly generated universe.

The author of Cold-Case Christianity started off as a skeptical atheist, but as he investigated deeper, he soon realized it was impossible for the secular worldview to be correct as it pertained to the origins of the universe and life on the planet.

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Culture and Religion

Leftists keep crying wolf: How ‘racist’ has lost all meaning

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Leftists keep crying wolf

The Left needs to start coming up with real arguments instead of relying on the crutch of name-calling.

Nick Kangadis , @TruthOfChicago of MRCTV makes the point that Leftist name calling has destroyed the emotional impact of certain words, leaving them without any practical debating points. Not to mention that a fair amount of time they are merely projecting their maladies on their opposition.

Does the action of being called a “racist” mean anything anymore? You’d think for being people that constantly talk about how tolerant and inclusive they are, the Left sure are hellbent on removing any weight actual racism carries, among other labels they like to arbitrarily place on people. The funny part of the whole thing is that the people who always cry racism seem to be the biggest racists.

Rules for the rational: Never substitute name-calling for a real argument

It’s one thing to frame the debate with a label or proper term, it’s quite another to simply use pejoratives without basis in fact.

We use the terms Leftist or Socialist-Left because those are the proper terms for those people. Conversely, we eschew the terms Liberal or Progressive because they are false descriptors of the Left. Some have tried to argue that the two ‘L’ words of the same length are interchangeable when that is not the case. Leftist are of collectivist bent, while Liberals are individualists.

Similarly, the vaguely defined term ‘Progressive’ runs counter to the post-modernism of the Left. The term national merely relates to or is characteristic of a nation. By the same token, the moniker ‘Liberty grabbers’ for Leftists describes their true nature in that they are no longer advocates of Liberty – despite their ongoing exploitation of the term‘Liberal’.

This is not the case with the Left, they have the unfortunate tendency to use pejoratives such as ‘Racist’, ‘Sexist’, ‘Fascist’, to excess instead of utilising real arguments. Presumably, one is supposed to be figuratively set back on their heels defending against these types of baseless allegations. The danger for the Left is these words have become a poor substitute for rational debating points, not that they ever had much of those in the first place. After all, their best argument in favour of collectivism is that it’s either never been tried before or it’s being tried everywhere.

The takeaway

A rational argument is far better than those worn out pejoratives that are usually based on information they don’t have. In most cases, one cannot know if they fit into those pejorative categories. But that never stopped the Left from using them anyway. The Left’s tactic of projecting the words ‘racist’, ’sexist’ ,’fascist’ has become both sad and amusing. Their desperation in using the follow-up tactic of circular logic in applying those words is also becoming obvious to everyone.

As those words lose their emotional impact from excessive overuse, it will become clearer to all that the Left has no real arguments in favour of it’s socialist national agenda. But most likely it’s racist, sexist or fascist to notice that.

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