Here are the quotes:
If a lot of African-Americans back in the ’60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma? . . . If John Lewis had had a gun, would he have been beat upside the head on the bridge?
African Americans in the 60s could have chosen to arm themselves, but we made a conscious decision not to. We were convinced that peace could not be achieved through violence. Violence begets violence, and we believed the only way to achieve peaceful ends was through peaceful means. We took a stand against an unjust system, and we decided to use this faith as our shield and the power of compassion as our defense.
Lewis resisted the temptation to add the question: “I wonder what Rush Limbaugh would say about a black protester who actually did fire upon state troopers and sheriff’s deputies?” “
I don’t know about you all, but does anyone remember the Trayvon Martin controversy? Martin was armed with a pack of skittles and an iced tea and most of the Right was sure that the shooting was justified. Or what about the apocalyptic pronouncements made because 1 (unarmed) black panther showed up at a polling place? Or what about the outright fear many exhibit over the mere possibility of a Mosque opening near you? The fact that many of us showed outright fear and distrust about these ‘harmless’ minorities, means that I cannot imagine the outcry if just 1 black protester were to shoot 1 policeman (who happened to be using a fire-hose or baton against them).
This is not to mention this very fact. When one considers the life of Christ, which person Rush or John seems to be acting more like he would have. Keep in mind when attacked by Roman soldiers Christ healed one of the Centurions and then went to his death peacefully. The Black community in their commitment to nonviolent protest in the face of police brutality (See Fannie Lou Hamer), police-sponsored murder (See Medgar Evers), and any number of gross societal infractions show me more about what the Kingdom of God looks like; than any of the chest-thumping, self-aggrandizement, and sorched-earth policies we find on political radio.
I believe the status of one’s walk with God is one’s own business and I have no right or ability to cast aspersions on another; but I would like to play the same card my right-leaning friends love to use when debating the faith of our president: where’s the fruit. Who is showing kindness? Who is showing mercy? Who’s love is revealing itself to be long-suffering? Who is being gentle and humble? Who is putting faith not in themselves and their abilities but in their Lord and Savior (above everything else). Those are the people I want to hang around. Those are the people I want to emulate. Those are the people I desire to call my own. Hopefully their goodness will rub off on me. Maybe their mantle of Christlikeness will pass on to me.
So for the record, count me on team Lewis. I want peace, not more violence. I am so tired of violence. I have watched friends die from drive-bys, suicides, and “gun accidents.” I have watched children gunned down in the streets. I have watched glorified video gamers wreak havoc on civilian populations from worlds away. I have watched murder laughed at. I have watched murder cheered on. I am so sick and tired of it. I need peace. I want peace. I believe peace only comes from more peace. So I salute John. I salute Martin. They were better than all of us who would have them pick up a gun and destroy everything for which they were fighting. That would have been easy, sure. But would it have brought peace. I think not. It would have escalated the conflict. It would only have created bloodshed, bloodshed that was worthless, pointless, and hopeless. It would have been just another dream that turned into just another nightmare. So like John, I beg for peace. I plead for peace. The needs floods my soul like a junkie craves his or her next hit. I want it. I need it. And like John and Martin I believe that the life of Christ shows us what true peace really means. So in my desperation I am willing to try anything, even if it means turns my swords into ploughshares. Even it means letting an eye for an eye become walking the extra mile or giving up my coat. It’s so crazy, it just might work. Because of the Obama inauguration taught me anything, it worked for John.
If that makes me non-Christian. If that means I have to turn me my Evangelical card. So be it. I would rather my friends think of me like that; than my God. I’d rather be called a heretic and live in peace with my neighbor; than be called a saint and continue the cycle of violence. Because in the long run I believe in the 2nd Commandment more than I respect the 2nd Amendment. I serve Christ first. I love my neighbor second. Ya’ll can call me anything you want. I’ll take the peace of Christ and His love for my neighbor, you can have your guns and your cold, dead hands.