“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. – Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means.” – John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776
Each mass shooting reminds us that we need more of two things: Guns and God. You have likely heard the saying that an armed society is a polite society. Years ago, I realized this concept needed to be amended thus: An armed and righteous society is a polite society. This article is a plea for us to add more guns and more God in our lives.
Guns or no guns, a God-fearing, decent, and righteous society will be one of peace, happiness, and security because “blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). Yet, because both evil and free will exist, even good, “turn-the-other-cheek” Christians must sometimes reluctantly take up arms to defend their Faith, Families, and Freedom. It has always been this way and it will remain the status quo until the Lord returns and cleanses the earth.
For all of history, patriots and prophets alike have had to wield the sword in defense of eternal truth, God-given rights, political Freedom, public morality, and societal stability. In ancient times, it was Jehovah’s peace-proclaiming prophets and the most righteous followers of the Gospel who were the first to stand up and fight for their rights. Whether you look at Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Elijah, Josiah, or any number of righteous figures of olden times, you find men willing to fight and to risk everything in defense of their rights, relatives, and religion.
Our honorable Founding Fathers also abhorred war and bloodshed, but they did their duty to God and their countrymen. They were great lovers of peace and knew the horrors of conflict. Yet, they also understood that it is better to die on your feet than live on your knees. Patrick Henry voiced their rallying cry in these treasured words, “give me liberty or give me death!” Consequently, they waged a holy war of self-defense against the British monarchists trying to subjugate them. If we are to vouchsafe to our own children the rights handed down to use by our forefathers, we must be equally prepared to fight.
The purpose of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was to plainly and publicly affirm that individuals possess the right of self-defense which no government can justly deprive them of. In truth, the Second Amendment is not even about guns – it is about self-defense. Whether you defend yourself with a club, machete, rifle, machine gun, or bazooka makes absolutely no difference. We focus on guns because they are the gold standard in personal self-defense, but we must never lose sight of the underlying principle of self-defense which existed before the Constitution was ratified and will exist for all eternity.
Our forefathers knew that a sure sign that a government had evil intentions to reduce its people to slavery was its attempts to disarm them. Accordingly, when the American colonists saw British Redcoats marching to Lexington and Concord to arrest Samuel Adams and confiscate their cache of firearms, they turned out with their rifles to defend their rights like real men. The “shot heard ‘round the world” happened because Christians with guns knew their rights and had the integrity to defend them at the risk of their own lives. Yes, American Liberty was won because a small band of armed Christians had enough valor to do what was required of them. They kept their guns close and their God closer.
Many Christians today believe that they cannot take up arms even in self-defense. They erroneously think it violates the Gospel of Jesus Christ to defend their rights against evil men. And they certainly do not agree with our Founding Fathers who believed that rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God. Though “timid men . . . prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty” (Thomas Jefferson to Philip Mazzei, April 24, 1796), I, as a Christian constitutionalist, understand that there are times I must defend my Faith, Family, and Freedom even to bloodshed. In so doing, I stand with our Founding Fathers who proved their noble words by their valiant actions. And I stand with the laws of nature and of nature’s God.
One of the great exponents of natural law was John Locke. In his Second Treatise on Civil Government, Locke described the rationale behind the right of self-defense thus:
“Whosoever uses force without Right . . . puts himself into a state of War with those, against whom he so uses it, and in that state all former Ties are cancelled, all other Rights cease, and every one has a Right to defend himself, and to resist the Aggressor.”
Self-defense is the most natural of rights. It is the one right that ensures all the others. Our rights, emanating from God, cannot be justly taken from us. When an attempt is made to deprive us of any right, the right of self-defense becomes operative. We who have been wronged have every prerogative to resist aggressors and would-be tyrants. Yes, the surest way to protect our general Freedom is through self-defense. Therefore, when we see this precious gem assaulted, we know that we are in danger.
John Adams spoke of a People’s right of self-defense. As you read his words, please understand that a nation has no rights but those which are possessed also by the individual citizens comprising the nation. Every nation derives its powers, as The Declaration of Independence attests, “from the consent of the governed.” With that in mind, consider this statement:
“The right of a nation to kill a tyrant, in cases of necessity, can no more be doubted, than that to hang a robber, or kill a flea. But killing one tyrant only makes way for a worse, unless the people have sense, spirit, and honesty enough to establish and support a constitution guarded at all points against tyranny; against the tyranny of the one, the few, and the many. Let it be the study, therefore, of lawgivers and philosophers, to enlighten the people’s understandings and improve their morals, by good and general education; to enable them to comprehend the scheme of government, and to know upon what points their liberties depend; to dissipate those vulgar prejudices and popular superstitions that oppose themselves to good government; and to teach them that obedience to the laws is as indispensable in them as in lords and kings” (John Adams, “Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States,” 1787).
The right of an individual to kill a tyrant, robber, or aggressor, in cases of necessity, cannot be doubted. Our inspired Constitution has safeguarded our right of self-defense and tens of millions of Americans stand armed and ready to defend their Faith, Families, and Freedom. Yet, do we possess the morality, honesty, integrity, goodness, and righteousness necessary to balance and temper our arms? John Adams made it clear that improved morals must go hand-in-hand with the capacity and willingness to wage defensive war against tyrants and aggressors.
Speaking of the tyrannical forces encroaching upon our Liberty, the venerable Ezra Taft Benson stated:
“If America is to withstand these influences and trends, there must be a renewal of the spirit of our forefathers, an appreciation of the American way of life, a strengthening of muscle and sinew and the character of the nation. America needs guts as well as guns. National character is the core of national defense.”
Yes, we not only need our guns, but we need our God even more. Our moral character must be improved and cultivated as both Mr. Adams and Mr. Benson affirmed. We must become an armed and righteous society. Unless we cultivate morality at least proportionate to the number of arms we have, I fear that we will be led to turn our arms on each other in a scene of anarchy and mobocracy unrivaled in human history.
As Christians, we must lead the way to a peaceful resolution of societal differences, yet without sacrificing principle. Ours should be the loudest voices calling for peace, encouraging morality, promoting goodness, exposing corruption, and championing the Constitution. As Christians, we must show the world through our personal righteousness that an armed society really is a polite society. And, finally, Christians we must be the first to stand up in defense of Freedom – even, and perhaps especially, when it requires drawing the sword.
The Lord has not presently called His people, as a collective group, to wage war against the wicked. In fact, He tells us to proclaim peace. Yet, it is equally sure that Christians must be prepared to fight when the time comes. The moment of action may or may not come in the shape of a formal war. But it very well may come during the night as a thief attempts to plunder your home; during a worship service when a hate-filled assassin attempts to shoot up your congregation; in the office when a disgruntled employee seeks revenge; in the back alley when a rapist attempts to deprive you of your virtue; or on your drive home from work when a thug tries to victimize you. The point is that you never know when you will need to exercise your God-given right of self-defense; and you should always be prepared.
Millions of lives are saved each year because people care enough about themselves and their loved ones to keep and bear arms. How many more lives would be saved if more Americans carried weapons for their personal defense? How many families would today be enjoying the company of a loved one if they had only been prepared to defend themselves? How many more people have to die needlessly because employers and school administrators force their employees and students to be defenseless and helpless in the workplace and in the classroom? How long will America sit idly by as a small, ruthless clique campaigns to deprive us of our most important right, our right of self-defense?
In 1833, the great Joseph Story wrote that “the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a Republic” (see Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States). As the palladium, or safeguard, of our rights, the Second Amendment should hold a place of preeminence in our hearts. If it goes, our Freedom goes. And in order to properly wield the great power of arms placed in our hands, we must turn our hearts to God.
To counter criminals, evil people, and tyrants, we need more guns. We need more weapons in the workplace, in schools, in public, and everywhere there are people to be defended. And we need people trained in their competent use. Training at an early age breeds respect for the power and proper use of guns. The message that “guns are evil” only breeds fear and incompetence and, ultimately, leads to greater casualties and suffering.
Yes, I say that we need more guns in America! Yet, the proliferation of guns in our society will turn into a sore curse if we do not follow the commandments of Jesus Christ. If we are an immoral People, we will eventually be led to turn our firearms on each other in a fratricidal war. History proves this pattern as clear as any other. However, if we once again become a moral nation, our firearms will prove an extra safeguard on the evil passions and proclivities of unscrupulous men.
While most of us may not need to use our guns, doesn’t it give peace of mind to have them just in case? Which husband or father, or even wife or mother, would not rush to defend a beloved family member rather than watch them gunned down by the hand of evil? Who, in hindsight, would choose to be a helpless witness than a defender of innocence? Ezra Taft Benson once said something of the Lord’s law of chastity that is applicable to our conversation: “It is better to prepare and prevent than it is to repair and repent.”
Thankfully, we live in a nation established by Almighty God – a nation whose founding documents clearly safeguard our rights. Thankfully, we have a heritage of Freedom and can distinctly see the path marked by our forefathers. We have been given the right of self-defense, along with all other rights, and it is our solemn duty to make good use of it. How shameful it would be if we who have been given so many blessings, so much prosperity, and so much individual Liberty, threw it all away because we were not brave enough to defend ourselves and our families! Stand up and be men. Stand up and be Christians. Stand up for your rights!
In the wake of each new gun-related tragedy, the Establishment batters us with anti-rights propaganda in hopes will we grow so weary that we will surrender. The media flashes images of dead bodies and blood on our TV screens in order to shock and scare us into submission. Don’t fall for it. Don’t be victimized. Don’t be deceived by the masters of deceit. Stand for your Liberty no matter what pretext is used to persuade you to accept your chains. Know that you stand on the moral high ground when you stand with the Constitution. And keep your guns close and God even closer.
I leave you with these immortal words of Samuel Adams. It was a frank challenge to his countrymen at the outset of the War for Independence. Though he spoke more than 200 years ago, he might as well have been speaking to you and me. Ponder the words and decide once and for all whose side you’re on:
“Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, What should be the reward of such sacrifices? Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plow, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom—go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”
June 1, 2019