So today I was scrolling through Facebook (an increasingly dangerous activity these days). And I came across a meme (picture) posted by a friend of my parents who is a baptist missionary serving in a former-soviet country in Europe. I had many serious problems with the message of this post and REALLY wanted to write a comment. But Luis, being the kind-natured and gracious person that he is, advised against that. So I decided to rant here instead. Much better! 🙂
Now, what’s most interesting is what first got my attention was the grammatical structure of the message. I had literally just finished teaching my university students about the structure of news articles and how the wording of “scandals” written by tabloid papers are carefully worded to sound convincing without having to bear the burden of truth.
Without boring you with the details of my lecture, the point is that in order to distance themselves from the facts, journalist will report the information as coming from a source instead of stating the fact themselves; i.e. “Reports allege that the CEO embezzled funds” We don’t know what these reports are or where they came from. But we are more likely to trust the information because it seems to be true. When actually it may not be true at all. The same is true of the picture above: “History has shown…” Has it?
Well in order for history to show that BOTH of these things are the first to be banned by totalitarian governments we can only go back to the 13th century because the gun didn’t exist before then! In fact, although the earliest form of gun was invented by China in the 1200’s, the earliest finding of a firearm in Europe is the late 1300’s. So by saying that “history has shown” really we’re only looking at the last 700 years.
But WERE guns actually one of the first things banned by totalitarian governments that have existed in the past 700 years? Not really.
In post WWI Germany guns were already outlawed but the rise of the Nazi party brought with it a new law creating a permit system for German citizens to buy and register guns. The only people who of course weren’t allowed to buy guns were of course the Jews. But they also weren’t allowed to do a lot of things. Hitler was concerned about taking guns away from perceived enemies, not the German people.
What about the Soviet Union? Nope. The Soviet Union began in 1917 after the Bolshevik Revolution. There was no change to the gun laws until 1929; one year after Joseph Stalin rose to power and would eventually rule from 1941 till his death in 1953. After 1929 there was a very strict gun ban along with MANY other horrible atrocities. But banning guns definitely wasn’t the first thing the soviet union did and it certainly wasn’t the worst.
I could go on and on about other totalitarian governments and their position on gun control, but for me, that isn’t the most important problem with this post.
WHY ARE THESE TWO THINGS IN THE SAME PICTURE?!?!
What has one to do with the other?
In my opinion, absolutely nothing! To place both the bible and a weapon of death on equal footing of importance is HIGHLY disturbing. If guns are taken away, does that change the message of the Gospel? Is God’s word less effective or hindered in anyway by the lack of a lethal weapon? And if the Bible is banned, as it has been at many times by many governments, does that change our relationship with guns? Should we kill, murder another human soul if they try to take away our Bibles? (I’m sure some people would say yes. And frankly, that disturbs me) Is a leather-bound book more valuable than a living being created in God’s image? What if someone wasn’t trying to take away our Bible, what if they were trying to take away Jesus? Would we use violence then? Peter did. And Jesus didn’t praise him. He didn’t even defend his use of violence against a Roman Soldier. He said:
Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.
So, no. I don’t see that history has shown us that the gun and the bible are the first things banned by totalitarian governments.
And no. I don’t think the gun and the bible should EVER be considered as having equal value.
But even after saying all this, knowing that it has made me feel SO much better. It saddens me thinking of how many people see pictures and memes like these and happily share them without really analyzing the message they are sending.
So please people, Think before you meme!