Church to raffle off an AR-15. Predictable hysteria ensues.

I can’t see what the fuss is all about.

Well, actually I do see what the fuss is all about.

From FNC:

New York pastor’s Sunday service assault rifle giveaway draws controversy

An upstate New York Baptist pastor has stirred controversy with his plan to raffle off a rifle during a Sunday service later this month, saying giving away the weapon is “the right thing to do.” [I like it.]

The Rev. John Koletas of the Grace Baptist Church in Troy said the service and gun raffle are aimed at “honoring hunters and gun owners who have been so viciously attacked by the antichristian socialist media and antichristian socialist politicians the last few years,” according to a letter on the church website, the Times Union of Albany reported. [I don’t think I would have made a grand statement like this about it.  Just raffle it off.  The gesture says plenty.  If questioned: “Hey!  It’s just a rifle.”]

Koletas said he is he’s showing support for Second Amendment rights by giving away the brand-new Smith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic rifle, a weapon similar to the Bushmaster rifle used to kill 20 children and six staff members at Newtown, Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

“I’m just trying to be a blessing and a help to the gun owners and the hunters and give away a free AR-15,” he told the Times Union of Albany. “It’s the right thing to do.”

A typical AR-15-type rifle is now illegal in New York. The $700 rifle being given away at the March 23 raffle has been modified — its pistol grip removed [Oooo the eeeeevil scary pistol grip….] — so that it complies with New York’s gun laws, according to Brian Olesen, a gun shop owner who’s donating the weapon.

The raffle winner must be at least 18, undergo an FBI background check and meet all state and federal laws, Olesen said. [So, what’s the problem?]

The rifle raffle has sparked outrage among some of the area’s other [narrower-minded] clergy members, including a pastor who has worked to get guns off the streets of nearby Albany.

“There’s no way we should be in a church saying we’re going to be giving away a weapon that could end up in the wrong hands,” Charlie Muller of the Victory Christian Church told WRGB-TV. [Instead they could be raffling off a car.  Church do that all the time, right?  I say: Get those dangerous cars off the street!  People die in cars!  People get hit by cars!  On the STREET!]

Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, an opponent of New York’s SAFE Act, [We should oppose not just because Andrew Cuomo is for it – which is enough – but because it is a BAD LAW.] told the Times Union he plans to speak at the March 23 service when the rifle will be raffled.

“It’s not like I’m going to the Hell’s Angels,” McLaughlin said. “I belong to a Catholic church and they raffle off thousands of dollars. This is a safe, legal firearm he’s raffling. I don’t see the controversy, and it doesn’t strike me as odd at all that they’d raffle a rifle at a church.” [Neither do I.]

Rev. Willie Bacote, pastor of Missing Link AME Zion Church in Troy, who has organized gun buy-back programs in the city, said he considers the raffle un-Christian. [Then Willie should go back to the drawing-board and rethink the issue.]

“The fact a church would offer some type of weapon to anyone strikes me as ludicrous and goes against everything the Bible teaches,” Bacote told the newspaper. “The only thing we’re supposed to arm citizens with is the word of God, not guns.” [It sounds like Willie thinks that the rifle is being raffled off in order to help the winner kill people.  That’s just plain mean-spirited and un-Christian, to think that badly of people.  Besides, Luke 22:36.]

I have no problem with the raffle. Some parishes raffle cars, which, in the wrong hands could kill a lot of people. What if the parish raffles off a set of golf clubs? Do you know what a golf club can do to a person’s body? What if the raffle offered a baseball bat, a set of frying pans, a deadly pen and pencil set for the love of God?!?!

I am tempted to send away for a raffle ticket, but I already have an AR-15.  Now if it were an AR-10….

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Nan says:

    Rev. Willie Bacote is from the Church of the Missing Link and I bet Tiger Woods could testify to the dangers of a golf club in the wrong hands.

  2. Lepidus says:

    Glad you mentioned Luke 23 Father!!!!

  3. Theodore says:

    Fr Z. An A-10 would be even cooler.

  4. James Joseph says:

    They should raffle off a howitzer! Hahaha.

  5. JARay says:

    I once had a rifle loaned to me by my government because I was doing military service. When I finished military service I handed it back. I have never since had any need of such a weapon, and, neither has anyone else around me needed one. Why do law-abiding citizens require such weaponry?
    Where I live, here in Australia, no one is allowed to own such a weapon and only criminals ever get their hands on one but they only seem to kill each other so the rest of us shake our heads and move on!

    [I suggest you stay in Australia, where an unarmed populace can be happily acquiescent in the face of enroaching government and where there are no bad guys who want to hurt you or your loved ones.]

  6. Scott W. says:

    What if the parish raffles off a set of golf clubs? Do you know what a golf club can do to a person’s body?

    Plus, golf is an elitist sport mainly indulged by people that might (gasp!) vote for someone other than the Obamessiah.

  7. Kerry says:

    “… similar to the Bushmaster rifle used ….” Used by whom? [Exactly. It isn’t as if the rifle, made by Bushmaster (as if the name is supposed to be scary), hopped around shooting people all by itself.]

  8. Simon_GNR says:

    [Instead they could be raffling off a car. Church do that all the time, right? I say: Get those dangerous cars off the street! People die in cars! People get hit by cars! On the STREET!]
    Hardly a valid comparison: cars are for tranpsorting people; guns are DESIGNED for killing living creatures. [Guns are designed to send a projectile at high speed in the direction it is aimed.]

  9. oldCatholigirl says:

    I know, it’s sort of “tongue in cheek”, but need all you noble defenders of the defenseless be quite so, well, aggressive, about it? [?!?! If you want to see aggressive, look at those who are stripping people of their 2nd Amendment rights. Look at the “SAFE Act” in NY and then think about who is “aggressive”.] I’m for upholding the 2nd Amendment. I tell my pacifist acquaintances that if I could, I would annihilate all the weapons on earth and let people go at it with their fists (because it’s impossible to eliminate conflict–or to expect reason to always prevail, given fallen human nature). But, since that kind of control is above my pay grade, I shudder to think of a situation where the serious weapons are only in the hands of government agents. So, I’m very much in favor of responsible gun ownership. However, I recently heard a friend of mine who conducts a gun class [a fine man, K of C, practicing Catholic, whose wife has homeschooled their six adopted children and agrees with his views on weapons] boast that he had persuaded another friend to let him turn his five-year-old-daughter into a “Shootist”. Glorifying a necessary evil to that extent is going too far (IMHO). [I cannot see how it is evil to teach a child to shoot. I learned at a very young age, from my mother the cop and her colleagues.]

  10. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I’m glad that our Australian correspondent has no need of a gun to defend himself from all those poisonous animals and dingoes, but apparently more rural Australians have guns all over the place for hunting and pest control as well as defense. Dave Freer certainly moved into a rural community of gun users.

    But come to think of it, I often see urbanites claiming that nobody needs a car, and people living in hot areas are sometimes sure that a/c is essential but heating a waste of energy. My mom still thinks the internet is useless because it’s not useful to her. So of course people with guns find their uses by being resourceful, whereas someone trained to use a rifle only as a military weapon used sparingly to keep within budget was not encouraged to work out civilian uses. He probably wasn’t encouraged to find offlabel uses for uniform hats, either.

    (Oh, and a lot of Americans think hats are useless and look funny, so all Australians are going to have to get sunstroke to please them.)

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    We start kids in other sports at a young age. Why is one hand/eye coordination skill worse than another? I mean, a lot more kids get hurt or have permanent development problems thanks to being pushed into soccer or baseball or football training, whereas one never hears of kids breaking bones or teeth at a shooting range.

  12. Priam1184 says:

    I confess that I think that an AR-15 is almost useless against the real enemies we face, but hey if the guy wants to raffle it off good for him. Father, I seem to recall you listing as one of your New Year’s resolutions a plan to build an AR-15 from scratch: are you still thinking about it?

    [Yes, indeed I am. I have one, but I want to build one. I like to know my tools inside and out, especially a tool like this.]

  13. Ed the Roman says:

    Raffle off Mosin-Nagants in the spirit of reducing tensions with Russia.

    Plus, you can get some with bayonets with matching numbers, and the ammo is cheap as dirt.

  14. Moro says:

    I am an NRA member, but I think this was a bad call. Gun rights are something good and faithful Catholics can disagree about. This protestant pastor injected himself in politics in a way that he had to have known would cause an unholy ruckus. I fear he erected a wall where he could have built a bridge. [I’m curious: How could he have built a bridge?]

  15. TWF says:

    Like my Australian brother above, as a Canadian I don’t understand the American obsession with guns. Canada has very strict gun control laws, yet contrary to American claims that such laws only lead to more violent crime, Canada has a much lower homicide / violent crime rate than the US…our major cities, Toronto, Vancouver, etc are among the cleanest and safest major cities on the globe. No one has guns and no one misses them. I know this is in part a cultural issue. We don’t have a history of taking up arms and rebelling against the lawful king. :P.
    That being said, I believe rifles are quite common in rural Canada for hunting purposes…nothing wrong with that.

  16. Priam1184 says:

    Good move Father. If one is going to depend on an instrument like that then it is a good idea to know exactly how it’s put together and the function of every nut and bolt so to speak. If you ever have the desire I would love to see a post on how it’s going.

  17. incredulous says:

    The gun control debate again… yawn. Actually, as NRA supporter and Catholic I see a HUGE problem with this. I’ll quote a small section and perhaps you can find the issue with the circumstances…

    “An upstate New York Baptist pastor…”

    P.S. Simon_GNR, I’m not sure if you are familiar with the difference between a ballistic missile and a guide missile. A 0.223 caliber AR-15 round is ballistic. It’s trajectory is set once the weapon is fired. I car is guided, i.e. if the target(s) move, the huge mass of the vehicle at high velocity can be altered. Typically, the computer performing the calculations needed to change the direction of the guided missile (car) is of a bio-electrical nature and is capable of performing immensely compilations of sensory data to redirect the vector of the car.

    Further, a 223 round weights approximately 55 grams, is about 0.223″ in diameter and travels approximately 6200 MPH. An average car front is approximately 60 inches x 70 inches and weighs 2 tons and can typical travel in a stealth mode (unassuming/nonthreatening) of 30 to 70 mph. Cars are so ubiquitous, they can be “hidden” in broad daylight without any intended victim giving the presence of one a second thought.

    I’ll not go to the extend to do a calculation of how much energy a 223 has once it has left the muzzle versus that of a Ford Taurus at 45 MPH, but I can suggest that a Ford is a much more lethal weapon than an AR-15. And, nobody NEEDS a Ford.

  18. incredulous says:

    Sorry, the 223 travels at about 2000 mph, not 6200.

  19. muerknz says:

    This New Zealander is with the Australian and the Canadian, American gun culture is just weird to me. I don’t understand it, I don’t like it, and I think it’s harmful.

    A Christian leader auctioning off a thing whose purpose is to kill via sending “a projectile at high speed in the direction it is aimed” is just… odd.

    Maybe if the Americans had stayed in the Commonwealth they wouldn’t have needed to arm themselves to the teeth just to stay safe from each other.

    God save our gracious Queen,
    Live long our noble Queen,
    God save the Queen!
    Send her victorious,
    Happy and glorious,
    Long to reign over us,
    God save the Queen.


    [When I am in England, I am happy to recite the prayer after Mass for Her Majesty the Queen. In the meantime, we Americans fought a war so that we wouldn’t have to be New Zealanders, or Australians, or Canadians… with due respect to my friend Michael Coren up there in Canadia.]

  20. incredulous says:

    Father Z, I just learned from your combox that Olympian shooters are misusing their match grade arms. They should be killing people rather than punching holes in paper. The Olympic committee should implement a zero tolerance policy for the misuse of competition rifles ASAP.

    [Did you hear that people were struck by a bobsled and injured? DOWN WITH BOBSLEDS!]

  21. muerknz says:

    Incredulous – So the right to bear arms is so that all American can become target shooters? So then it would be fine to make it illegal to keep weapons loaded outside of the range and illegal to conceal carry, because I totally agree with that.

    Hey that sounds like NZ law, where guns are only legal for hunting and sport. Incredulous, I _like_ you.

  22. incredulous says:

    muerknz, hopefully you refer to the Queen of Heaven. If not, you are more than welcome to be a subject, loyal or otherwise, but we unilaterally decided otherwise about 240 years ago.

    Also, I think you are misrepresenting the nature of the Commonwealth. The Queen of England is the Monarch of Canada and New Zealand but not all “Commonwealth of Nation” members. You are a Commonwealth Realm country. There are only 15 nations (exclusive of the UK) who recognize Elizabeth II as their ruler. We wished not to have anything to do with King George III ruling us and that would also extend to future monarchs including Elizabeth II. Thank you.

  23. incredulous says:

    No, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has no limits on the reasons for its exercise just as speech, assembly, religious practice, right to be secure from unreasonable search and seizure, etc., I simply point out that if “guns are made to kill people” then I found a very high profile situation where they are routinely being misused (abused?).

  24. PostCatholic says:

    Please see

    If only they’d had AR-15 assault Pila or Hastae. How different the history of the western world would have been!

  25. TWF says:

    incredulous: Was King George worse than the pagan Roman Emperors whom St. Paul commanded the early Christians to honor and obey? History moves on and the USA like many other republics is now obviously a legitimate sovereign nation, but I have always struggled with the idea of Catholics advocating armed rebellion against a lawful monarch. The Church certainly condemned such rebellions in France and elsewhere. I also always thought that most Catholics in the Colonies at the time were Loyalists for this very reason.

  26. Bob B. says:

    I don’t understand the people that are so quick to give up even one of the Bill of Rights, especially since so many seem bent on telling us what’s good for us.
    I was an Army brat and the only time I remember seeing my dad with a weapon was during the Berlin Crisis when he was ordered, as all soldiers were, to take his M-14 home.
    We moved here and there and I graduated from high school in Kansas, where the school had an indoor .22 range in the basement for the rifle team.
    I went to Vietnam (Army) and used a variety of weapons for the protection of others and myself.
    I own a M-1 and my adult sons and I go to an indoor pistol range, every so often. I did this to begin with so they would have a proper respect for weapons, any weapons and they could defend themselves, if the situation ever arises.
    Does this make me weird or something? If so, I can live with it.

  27. incredulous says:

    @TWF, the Church didn’t condemn the Christeros in Mexico. They (Rome) promulgated the uprising knowingly by banning all public worship of the Holy Mass.

    Frankly, my knowledge of St. Paul is limited so I am open to learning where he taught that Christians had an obligation–a duty– to submit to death at the hands of an emperor.

    Nonetheless, please advise where ANYBODY here has advocated armed uprising. As a side, if somebody comes to kill your family, your Priests or put anybody in a concentration camp, do you have a duty to obey and be killed or interned?

    In any event, sounds like you are crying over spilt milk and don’t particularly like the colonist’s unilateral declaration of independence. And it’s funny that you come off sympathetic to the crown when then have oppressed Catholics in Ireland for centuries. Scotland gets their vote soon, don’t they?

  28. incredulous says:

    Here’s to anybody who doesn’t think that guns have a rightful and justified use in civilian hands.

  29. robtbrown says:

    Bob B. says:
    I was an Army brat and the only time I remember seeing my dad with a weapon was during the Berlin Crisis when he was ordered, as all soldiers were, to take his M-14 home.
    We moved here and there and I graduated from high school in Kansas, where the school had an indoor .22 range in the basement for the rifle team.

    Did you go to LHS?

  30. pannw says:

    Man was made to be free. It was so important to God, that He gave us free will, that we might choose to freely love and worship Him, even knowing that many, if not most would use the freedom He gave them to deny Him. Governments and other tyrannical elements around the world are seeking to and, in too many cases, succeeding in denying Christians their freedom to practice their faith and freely do God’s will. I do not understand the passivity of so many. Is it only because no one is persecuting them directly–yet? Did not Jesus say to the Apostles, “buy a sword?” Did He not make a scourge of knots and chase off the money changers? Did not Saint Michael and God’s angels do battle with Satan and cast him and his angels out of Heaven? I guess you could argue that they didn’t use deadly weapons, but I’d argue that there are none as they are immortal spirits and not mortal bodies, and Jesus used the proper force needed for the offense, but what of the instruction to ‘buy a sword?’ Is it wrong to depict Saint Michael with a sword? Is the sword less ‘offensive’ because it is somehow less deadly than having him brandish an AR-15? Or maybe it is right for him to wield a deadly weapon because he’s leading God’s ‘army’? Do the anti-gun rights folks believe the military should be disarmed and disbanded and allow the barbarians through the gates without a fight? Did the God of Israel help His people in battle? Is He the same God of Joan of Arc? Does and did God change? Or have we (Scripture and the Church) just been misinterpreting Him all these millennia?

    I’ve often wondered about the first Christian martyrs. Do we know that they didn’t fight back as much as possible? Were they free to have weapons or were only Roman soldiers allowed? Did they only walk calmly and peacefully into martyrdom after they were cornered and had no escape? I truly don’t know, but I know God made us to be free. That just seems worth fighting for to me and I don’t see how it can be okay to have a military to defend a nation and not okay for a father or mother to defend a family. Subsidiarity?

    May God forgive me if I have it wrong and give me wisdom.

  31. Bob B. says:


    No, I went to Salina HS. Sometime during the Vietnam War, the Army took over Shilling AFB, leaving the airfield to the city, but taking over the quarters. A serviceman of any rank and any service could drop off his family while he served his tour in Vietnam. It became a Ft. Riley sub-post and it could be a very sad place when a family was notified that a husband/parent had been lost.

  32. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    And yet there is a striking dearth of citations in all the many patristic and ecclesiastical writings that survive from the great age of the martyrs of antiquity about having actual (as opposed to spiritual) weapons; about training to use said weapons; about the acquisition of said weapons to defend against the possibility of martyrdom; about the desirability of having a culture where said weapons were readily available; certainly about the raffling of said weapons by churches.

  33. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Further, a 223 round weights approximately 55 grams, is about 0.223? in diameter and travels approximately 6200 MPH.”

    Arrggggggh! The bullet does NOT travel at Mach 8. The speed of sound in dry air at 82 0F is 780.6 miles per hour (MPH), so a bullet traveling at 6200 MPH/ 780.6 MPH = 7.94, so the Mach number is 7.96. This is hypersonic velocity.

    A 55 gram .223 Remington round bullet fired from an AR-15 has a ballistic velocity of 990 meters per second, which is 2214.6 miles per hour, which is a measly Mach 2.84, which is still in the supersonic range.

    Personally, I want a 100 watt laser gun. It is neither ballistic (has no mass, although don’t get me started about photon mass) nor guided, but has a Mach number of 895,104.5.

    By the way, they are working on smart bullets that can change their trajectory. See patent no. 5,788,178.

    The Chicken

  34. The Masked Chicken says:

    “And yet there is a striking dearth of citations in all the many patristic and ecclesiastical writings that survive from the great age of the martyrs of antiquity about having actual (as opposed to spiritual) weapons.”

    There is also a dearth of citations about bingo :)

    An argument from silence can be a valid argument (although usually, if it is valid, it is weak), but Early Christianity was not in a position to have to defend pagans. It may be one thing to be in a Christian group and offer ones life as a martyr, but what if you are a Christian in charge of a population of pagans or other people? Are you going to let them die before they are baptized, should there be a sudden sneak attack by an enemy? Most of the writings of the Church Fathers never had to take that possibility into account, so, the theology of self-defense was not well-developed. The theology of self-defense, which relies on the doctrine of Double Effect, was developed just to take these situations into account.

    The Church Fathers did not have access to Aristotelian analysis, so they could not make the sorts of distinctions that Aquinas makes in his theory of Double Effect, so it could not have been developed until the translations of Aristotle became available in the middle 12th-century.

    St. Thomas Aquinas, in the Summa Theologica, II.II Q64 art.7, talks about the possibility of murder in self-defense:

    “On the contrary, It is written (Exodus 22:2): “If a thief be found breaking into a house or undermining it, and be wounded so as to die; he that slew him shall not be guilty of blood.” Now it is much more lawful to defend one’s life than one’s house. Therefore neither is a man guilty of murder if he kill another in defense of his own life.

    I answer that, Nothing hinders one act from having two effects, only one of which is intended, while the other is beside the intention. Now moral acts take their species according to what is intended, and not according to what is beside the intention, since this is accidental as explained above (43, 3; I-II, 12, 1). Accordingly the act of self-defense may have two effects, one is the saving of one’s life, the other is the slaying of the aggressor. Therefore this act, since one’s intention is to save one’s own life, is not unlawful, seeing that it is natural to everything to keep itself in “being,” as far as possible. And yet, though proceeding from a good intention, an act may be rendered unlawful, if it be out of proportion to the end. Wherefore if a man, in self-defense, uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repel force with moderation his defense will be lawful, because according to the jurists [Cap. Significasti, De Homicid. volunt. vel casual.], “it is lawful to repel force by force, provided one does not exceed the limits of a blameless defense.” Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense in order to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s. But as it is unlawful to take a man’s life, except for the public authority acting for the common good, as stated above (Article 3), it is not lawful for a man to intend killing a man in self-defense, except for such as have public authority, who while intending to kill a man in self-defense, refer this to the public good, as in the case of a soldier fighting against the foe, and in the minister of the judge struggling with robbers, although even these sin if they be moved by private animosity. ”

    Rather than survey the Patristic literature, myself, I will leave that to a First Things article:

    The Chicken

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  35. incredulous says:

    The Masked Chicken says:
    10 March 2014 at 11:42 am

    “Arrggggggh! The bullet does NOT travel at Mach 8. The speed of sound in dry air at 82 0F is 780.6 miles per hour (MPH), so a bullet traveling at 6200 MPH/ 780.6 MPH = 7.94, so the Mach number is 7.96. This is hypersonic velocity…”

    Errr, didn’t I correct myself or does that not count in your jumping down someone’s throat?

  36. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Errr, didn’t I correct myself or does that not count in your jumping down someone’s throat?”

    I am the perfect Slashdotter – I never read anything that is one line long :( Why, oh, why could you not have beaten your breasts for a good paragraph so I wouldn’t have skimmed right past your correction in my haste to be all numbery?

    See, I am making my apology two paragraphs long so that no one can possibly overlook it :) Seriously, I was skimming the comments and saw your longer comment, but not the immediate correction. I feel so near-sighted. I hang my beak in shame. I teach unit conversion so much that when I see an incorrect value I go on auto-pilot.

    Please, forgive me. I don’t know how to make it up to you, except to say that I am sorry and will try to read more slowly and carefully in the future. I have my laptop, today, and the browser flies through the comments at a very fast pace and if I am not careful, I can miss a lot of things.

    My criticism was ballistic. Yours was guided.

    The Chicken

  37. wmeyer says:

    “And yet there is a striking dearth of citations in all the many patristic and ecclesiastical writings that survive from the great age of the martyrs of antiquity about having actual (as opposed to spiritual) weapons.”

    And yet, the Church in its wisdom, gives clear teaching in the CCC, 2263-2267, regarding self defense. In particular, consider:
    2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

    Of course, as with so many teachings, Protestants and heretics may freely disregard this.

  38. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    “Of course, as with so many teachings, Protestants and heretics may freely disregard this.”

    I’m not sure that discomfort with this post and others like it, which strike me as displaying an unseemly interest in firearms and the culture that surrounds them, constitutes either Protestantism or heresy.

  39. wmeyer says:

    “Unseemly” is a highly subjective word. On the other hand, Church doctrine must be taken in its entirety; it is not a menu-based offering.

  40. wmeyer says:

    Of course, owning tools for self defense without taking a proper interest in their maintenance and use would indeed be unseemly. Or even quite foolish.

  41. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I’m not sure that discomfort with this post and others like it, which strike me as displaying an unseemly interest in firearms and the culture that surrounds them, constitutes either Protestantism or heresy.”

    I don’t have a problem with being discomfortable with this post. Firearms can be very frightening, even if one is trained on them. I do not shoot nor would consider owning a gun, myself, but I do consider that the right to self-defense is well-established in Church teachings and must be defended (no pun intended). Thus, I see no contradiction in defending the right to bear arms, but not owning one. I, also, don’t drink, but I can defend the right to moderate drinking for those not suffering from alcoholism. It does not constitute Protestantism to be uncomfortable around guns – there is even a fear of guns: hoplophobia, but the Protestant-like notion that wmeyers refers to comes from not giving the Church’s teachings in full. There are few quotes from the Church fathers about taking up arms, true, but the Church Fathers are not the sum of Church teaching. As I pointed out, earlier, there are necessary circumstances that never occurred in the lives of the Church Fathers where to not defend someone can make one guilty of sin. There are many ways to lay down ones life for a friend and laying down ones life defending them is certainly meritorious.

    The Chicken

  42. wmeyer says:

    The Masked Chicken wrote: “…but the Protestant-like notion that wmeyers refers to comes from not giving the Church’s teachings in full.”

    Actually, from the mistaken notion that we can pick and choose from among the teachings of the Church. And I am solo… no s on the end of my name. ;)

  43. I’ve really got to get my brain fixed. I read “An upstart New York Baptist pastor…”

    Anyhooo…Catholics are not pacifists. Quietism is a heresy. And as wmeyer mentions, the Church does not condemn self-defense.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with owning weapons. Axe murderers are bad because of the cold-blooded manner in which they use that axe, not because they own the axe.

    The Chicken: “There is also a dearth of citations about bingo :)” bwahaha. True. [should I say ‘BINGO”?]

  44. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    No “mistaken notion” here about Catholic doctrine. No Catholic doctrine compels me to refrain from thinking some of what is posted here about guns and firearms is, as I called it above, unseemly.

  45. jflare says:

    ” I would annihilate all the weapons on earth and let people go at it with their fists…”

    oldCatholigirl, how far would you would be willing to go in defining a “weapon”?
    If I take the time to learn, I can use a whittled tree branch as a walking stick, a tool to stir a fire, or if needs warrant, a deadly weapon. Or, let’s remember that at various times, something as innocent as a baseball bat may be used to bludgeon someone’s enemy. Even a “crude”, kitchen steak knife may be used to inflict mortal wounds if needed. Bows and arrows that have been purchased for hunting elk may inflict lethal damage on a human being as well.

    ..And as far as fists go, I can still inflict either deadly force or serious wounds upon another person, especially if I’ve been trained in karate.

    I’ve never understood the mania leveled against guns. If a person would wish it, they could discern the means to seriously wound or kill any number of people while never handling even so much as a grain of gunpowder.

  46. robtbrown says:

    Bob B,

    My class lost 5 in Viet Nam. Two were Brats, one of whom a very good friend (I was also close to his family). The sedan drove up to tell his parents on his 24th birthday. He was USMA Class of 1969; in my class 5 had appointments and one now works for the AOG. I was the 6th, from USMAPS 2 years later (I would have been Class of 71), but I didn’t go.

    Mach was mentioned above. A few years ago I met a fellow grad, not a Brat and much older, who had flown the SR 71, Mach 3+.

  47. The Masked Chicken says:


    Sorry for the extra s. My comment reading skills have been abysmal, today.

    The Chicken

  48. oldCatholigirl says:

    I know I’m probably too late to defend my first comment (was out all day), but here goes anyway. I think a lot of the reasoned commentary here was edifying. I know that 2nd Amendment rights are under fire, & it’s awful. (I’ve also read the statistics about crime spiking when guns are outlawed, & I know about Nazi Germany.) I applaud children above the age of reason (which varies with the child–some never make it) being taught the hows & whens & whys of responsibly and accurately using firearms. Nevertheless, I find boasting about turning tiny girls into “Shootists” appalling.

  49. wmeyer says:

    Chcken, it is the most common error made with my name. Not to worry, I never get bothered by it.

  50. Bob B. says:

    It was a long war. I was on a 30-day leave going and my dad had just completed his 2nd tour and was on his 30-day leave. It took me a while to find out where the family had gone and I didn’t meet up with them until 3 days before I had to report to Oakland.

  51. wmeyer says:

    …and with my typos, it’s well that I don’t fret over an s added to my name. ;)

  52. OrthodoxChick says:

    Are we doing this again?? For those who don’t get Americans who like their guns, it’s really very simple. Guns are fun. Skeet shooting is fun. Hunting is fun. Firing competitions at the local rod & gun club are fun. Collecting firearms is fun. It’s recreational. It’s sport. It’s really not complicated. If you’ve ever been to a carnival and used a toy gun to shoot water into a duck’s mouth to win a prize, then you know that there’s something about challenging yourself to sight a target and hit it accurately that is interesting and entertaining. Marksmanship is a good time. It’s a right that we enjoy as Americans and some of us don’t wish to surrender that right.

  53. Pingback: Convert Journal – Elsewhere: church gun raffle

  54. jflare says:

    “Nevertheless, I find boasting about turning tiny girls into “Shootists” appalling.”

    Possibly a legitimate concern, but tough to tell. Precise context makes a difference; differing expectations preceding a conversation can lead to unfortunate misperceptions and so forth. What seems overly aggressive to one may seem either routine or too passive to another.

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