WWJD: Who Would Jesus Deputize?

The man accused of last month’s mass shooting in a Tennessee church was indicted yesterday on two counts of first-degree … Continued

The man accused of last month’s mass shooting in a Tennessee church was indicted yesterday on two counts of first-degree murder and eight other counts. It seems likely that Jim David Adkisson’s public defender will seek an insanity defense. He wants the case in Knox County’s criminal court so he can get funds for mental health experts.

Meanwhile, in nearby Bradley County, the sheriff and county attorney say they have worked out concerns about a “Church Protection Plan” to deputize and arm churchgoers to provide protection during Sunday services. Sheriff Tim Gobble hopes to start the program Jan. 1 — after the Christmas rush.

“We realize this is not for everybody,” Gobble said in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Some churches have hired security or have members who are there off duty. And some may say no.”

Are there some who will say yes to guns in church? WWJD? Who Would Jesus Deputize?

No doubt worship services are easy targets for crazed killers, but so are schools, malls and business offices. If we’re going to deputize and arm the deacons, why not the teachers, store clerks and office managers? If the solution to defending ourselves against people with guns is to give more people more guns, why not turn every city into Dodge City?

I don’t mean to pick on Sheriff Gobble. He’s trying to do his job as he sees it. “My Special Deputy Church Protection Program supports the primary function and purpose of government, which is to protect its citizens,” he wrote in a letter to his fellow citizens defending his plan. People “have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, without undue fear that an armed intruder will enter a church building and begin shooting.”

Undue fear? Has the sheriff spent any time in an inner-city neighborhood? How about Chicago, where three dozen public school students have been killed in the past year. In a recent survey by the Chicago Sun-Times, half of all fifth- through eighth-graders said their “greatest fear” was getting shot. Nearly three-quarters have heard gunshots in their neighborhood. More than a third know a friend or relative who has been shot to death.

That’s undue fear. Those are people who need a protection plan. Maybe the church’s most faithful response to gun violence isn’t to arm itself inside its sanctuaries but to go out into its own neighborhoods and work to disarm others.

Written by

  • Kacoo

    Jesus deputized Peter. John 18:10″Simon Peter therefore having a sword drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear.”

  • Kacoo

    Jesus deputized Peter. John 18:10″Simon Peter therefore having a sword drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear.”

  • Roy

    Carry a carbine for Christ – at least that’ll keep those pesky Mesicans from trying to invade God’s house, by gum.Kucoo is a good name for it.

  • DAS

    “J.C.: Who’s to say that those people being shot wasn’t part of God’s plan?”Certainly, but I’m sure neither you or I would enjoy hearing that if it were one of our relatives. Can we please exercise some tact?

  • Nelson Peatross

    I believe Jesus would deputize either an ATHEIST/AGNOSTIC. This is because the self appointed Religious Right, who believe they represent all Christians, have called atheists/agnostics: Nazi, Commie, Perverts, Gays, Baby Killers, Blasphemer, Democrats, and Muslims. Since atheists/agnostics obviously work well under pressure and can take unconstructive criticisms and ridicule they would be choice deputies. They have high self control when dealing with Christians, and they have the day off on Sunday

  • pinkydink

    I really wish those who constantly shout their professed love and belief in Jesus would use his name less in every politically correct and fear mongering tactics they dream up.No one knows what He would do today if he saw his name being used as a misleading and biased do as I say not as I do from so called preachers making a ton using his naame for money.surely also, I am near certain he would not be too amused to see those who claim to be such believers in his way to be so cruel and un compassionate towards their fellow man.

  • R.S.Newark

    There have been times in history, the French Revolution, The communist era and the Nazi era when the persecution of christains and jews was very clear. In france a “Biddle” a person carrying protection from attack was neccessary to get we priest to the altar. It looks like those days have returned…persecution of the religious has returned.

  • Marita

    Kacoo, you ought to continue reading a little further John 18:11 or try Matthew 26:51-2 52″Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

  • deflag

    You need to get them young and pin a star on their chest. Don’t forget the powder on paper caps for the six shooters. Everything we do, we are doing for the future of the kids today. It’s all about them and what they want to be when they grow up. I was a special deputy sheriff and protected my imaginary friend way back in the magic days of yesteryear. The magic continues and the stars still shine. It never ends.

  • wcmillionairre

    Jesus? Who is this “Jesus” you speak of…?

  • NotSoGreatScot

    J.S. – thank you for counting UUs as among the religious. I think a lot of the regular posters around here think of us as a cult, but I don’t feel persecuted yet.

  • mark

    It is clear to any who read Jesus’ words and actions what he thought about all violence. Period. Look it up.

  • Arminius

    Mark said:”It is clear to any who read Jesus’ words and actions what he thought about all violence. Period. Look it up.”Me: I agree, totally. But why, I wonder, are there so many ‘Who would Jesus bomb?’ people who insist on being called Christian?

  • jumpingelephant

    if the jesus were the perfect person you paint him to be, he would have spoken perfect grammar. it should be “whom would jesus deputize.”

  • deflag

    Some morons caused trouble at a church near me. As it turned out there were several state troopers attending services at the church. You have armed and armed and dangerous. You never never know who is one and who is the other and where they might be and what they might do when threatened. As for going out and disarming others, we’ve been there before and aren’t going back.

  • deflag

    Who would Jesus bomb? Excellent question, so I reflected and checked my intel sources and the best I could come up with was Russia.

  • bill j

    I don’t want any guns in my church.

  • K Ackermann

    The right to life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness? He was talking about the quaint part of the constitution.I would put access to medicine and health care under the right to life, but nobody seems to agree.It might cut down on the crazy man shootings too.

  • jerry rubin

    It would not Sen. McCain!!!His wife lied about being an only child. Cindy’s father was a bigamist and child a daughter while married to her mother.His wife lied about the adoption with Mother Terressa helping her.Sen. McCain speaks about Vietnam which most historians stated it was an unjust conflict and my generation fought to get news anchor Cronkite to say on the news that this was a lost war. Many don’t know, but can search the web for the Calley case. This is the war that McCain is still trying to still win as well as show his credentials as an American Herol

  • Glen Evans

    The usual response of helplessness and fear is to do something whether that something is the correct course of action. The responsibility of carrying a firearm and taking a human life is such a heavy burden, that it should be taken with only the deepest examination of whether you could really pull the trigger and take a life, and consider the toll it will take upon you and your family. Additionally, there is a huge difference between owning a gun and understanding tactical/combat shooting in a crowded environment. An article tackling this subject can be found at

  • ep thorn

    Turn the other cheek and pass the ammunition?

  • whynot

    This way they can cling to their guns IN church.

  • Garyd

    Someone could stand to remember that Jesus asked the Disciples if they had any swords among them. And when told they had a couple he said that would be enough. Not get rid of those implements of the devil but rather that should be enough.

  • Harveyh5

    I’ll repeat a comment I made to another Post article. By far the most significant factor responsible for the violence in inner city neighborhoods is the drug war. Intercity youth go to where the money is in illegal drug trafficking. The cash flow in turn produces in inner cities the abundance of weapons, which have a primary purpose of protecting the interests of drug traffickers, but also are readily used for other related purposes – robbery and murder. With the exception of the period of prohibition, conditions to such an extent simply did not exist in inner cities in the early 1900s, through the 1930s, the 1940s, the 1950s, and the 1960s, until the government’s escalation of the war on drugs starting with President Nixon. Providing “the good guys” with more weaponry and resources hasn’t solved the problem. Until we take a different approach to drugs, away from militaristic law enforcement, don’t expect anything better.

  • J.C.

    Who’s to say that those people being shot wasn’t part of God’s plan?

  • GI JO

    Getting shot down and stuck in a prison camp doesn’t mean you’re a hero. You people have been watching too mcany “Hogan” reruns.

  • gun order

    Law and Order, you are targeting the wrong suspect. The guilty parties are not the law-abiding gunowners who are capable of defending themselves and others and do so every day. The true suspects are those responsible for the lack of decent social programs in inner city neighborhoods where economic stressors leave the youth essentially parentless when they are most susceptible to the prevailing social acceptance and glorification of violence in their communities..

  • NotSoGreatScot

    Oops – I meant to write:If only all the gun owners would behave with the discipline and self restraint OF “A well regulated militia”.Now – which demagogue out there can I blame for my inability to type?

  • Roy

    As long as scary neochristians value their right to bear glocks more than they value their children, they will need to have guards to protect their neochristian mega-malls on Sunday.

  • Fate

    More guns means more profits for the gun industry. If you think the NRA cares about rights you are wrong. The whole pro-gun lobby works for one goal, more profits for the gun industry. And what drives those profits is fear.I would like to hear how a gun toting deacon could have prevented the carnage in the church, or a gun toting teacher prevented the killings at Virginia Tech. The fear is being raised to sell guns, nothing more. If you want to have someone armed in your church, ask the local police to provide an officer to be at the church, or hire a professional security guard. But you see, that would not increase gun sales, so is not mentioned.

  • Michael D. Houst

    A gun is a tool used to intimidate, or kill.As such, there is nothing evil or wrong with it.In the hands of a criminal or psychopath/sociopath, the intimidation of innocents and the death of people for personal gain are the goals. Goals that most of us would agree are NOT socially acceptable.In the hands of moderately well-adjusted, law abiding citizens, a gun intimidates the criminally-minded from committing their crimes. A gun can be used to stop a psychopath not intimidated, from continuing to scare, injure, or kill others.A gun, in the hands of a fairly easily trained person, is actually safer than that steak knife in your cutting block.Hiring armed guards for a church is an unnecessary expense for the church. I’d just as soon have all the parishioners who are trained, willing, and able, to pack one on their hips, under their arms, or in their pocketbooks for their own defense.Too many very well intentioned but foolish people have forgotten that peace is not the natural state of human beings; but requires constant, and usually armed, vigilance to keep it.

  • jmcusnr

    Unfortunately, although Christ himself, through the ‘Holy Spirit’ has impregnated human consciousness with his message of love, many people can’t accept it; including so-called or neo- christians who laugh at, persecute, or are offended by others less fortunate than themselves. Hiding behind lip-service to a bastardized sham christianity, they have become the hypocritical persecutors whom Christ is most offended by. Let them be hoisted on their own petards.

  • Bud

    As a gun owner, I can say that I am vehemntly against average citizens packing heat in churches or other public settings. Having had years of training in firearms, I can attest to the difficulties in controlling a 357 magnum or even a 9mm semiauto pistol (the two most popular choices for handguns). Contrary to what you see on TV and the movies, these guns have significant recoil and are near impossible to discharge in a rapid fire sequence. Having a few hours shooting at a paper target IS NOT the same thing as being in a pseudo-combat situation where someone may fire back at you and where your bullet may hit an innocent bystander. Even a trained professional would take a chance discharging a weapon in a situation like this and would need to ensure that they have a clear and clean shot. This type of judgement requires a high degree of training and practice. I have witnessed and even competed in several simulated combat competitions (where one walks a simulated combat zone and needs to make split second decisions when targets pop up in front of them) and have seen even professionals accidentally hit the mother holding the baby target. If anyone thinks that it’s easy to hit a 12′ x 12′ target (about the area of a human that would be the vital kill zone) with a 357 magnum from a distance of as little as 25 feet, try it. Now try it under the threat and pressure of a gun ready to shoot back at you such that you have a split second to unholster, raise, aim, and fire the weapon and hope you hit what you intended to hit.If you want armed protection at public events, hire a professional. Trust me you don’t want your next door neighbor performing this duty.

  • Bud

    ” 12′ x 12′ target “That should be 12 in x 12 in, about the area of the human chest where the vital organs are centered.

  • Arminius

    Bud,Your post about the need for gun training is one of the best posts I have read here in a long while. You are absolutely right – the training necessary to even have a good chance of hitting the right target in a milling crowd is incredible. A church would need to send people to swat training, or, better, Delta Force. Long ago, I fired the wonderful old Model 1911 Army 45 when in the Army. Lovely hand cannon, but not exactly accurate. The thought of trying to hit the right person even 20 feet away in a crowd with that pistol puts me in a cold sweat. This is NOT a trivial problem, and anyone that thinks that a gun-packing crowd cures any terrorist problem is simply wrong and inviting disaster.

  • Craig

    I agree with Arminus. Bud, your post represents the epitome of a responsible and intelligent response from a responsible and intelligent firearm owner/operator.Thanks,

  • Fate

    Houst wrote: “Too many very well intentioned but foolish people have forgotten that peace is not the natural state of human beings; but requires constant, and usually armed, vigilance to keep it.”Wrong. Peace IS the natural state of human beings as the peaceful congregation showed, and the single deranged shooter showed that violence is the unnatural state. The problem comes when those few who would break the peace are allowed to obtain guns with which they can do a LOT more damage than without a gun.This man was obviously troubled as was the man at VA Tech. Why is the gun industry so eager to sell these people guns? Profit, nothing more. What is really sick though is that the gun industry sells these people guns, who then kill other people, and the gun industry uses those killings as a way to sell more guns for safety. Doesn’t that seem a bit strange to anyone that the gun industry is selling guns for protection from the guns it sells?

  • Anonymous

    I think guns and religious zealots is a great combination.And while I agree with Bud that we do not want our average-citizen-neighbor packing heat to church or to the grocery store, I worry over what constitutes a ‘professional’: I’m not sure incompetent bumbling gun-wielding Fred by my side is any worse than some bozo professional from, say, Blackwater.

  • Paganplace

    Well, who are we kidding, it’s not the ‘pro-gun’ churches that have to worry so much about getting shot up, in this political climate, is it? Sometimes, yes, a little protection may be called for. I’ve certainly been to enough rituals and festivals where our non-Pagan friends had to provide (unarmed) security against Christian ‘demonstrators’ who liked to run in with bullhorns and yell at kids and the other usual while people are trying to celebrate… And that can get pretty confrontational, some of these folks are so agitated they seem to be on the edge of physical violence. As a practical matter, of course, a gun isn’t a magic talisman. It can give a false sense of security, and in a crowded setting like a church, may not be the best choice. There’s no real easy answer there.

  • NotSoGreatScot

    I was just reading back through the commentary on Mr. Waters’ earlier column on the TVUUC shooting. I might have posted this thought there, but Sharon’s comment there clearly deserves to be the last word on that column. I am also in the midst of reading “The Reformation” by McCullough. So – more than 500 years have passed and some people still feel a need to arm themselves for church. Scary.

  • NotSoGreatScot

    If only all the gun owners would behave with the discipline and self restraint or “A well regulated militia”. I suspect most people would agree that would include not bringing them to church.

  • law and order

    Gun Owner – you’re correct that guns, the NRA, and Christian fundamentalism go hand in hand…the Old Testament is your guiding light. On the other hand, the NRA lobby should be banned from the streets and congressional corridors of Washington, D.C. Guns should be restricted to law enforement officers only, in public venues – severe fines for violations should be levied. The next Democratic congress needs to keep abuses of the 2st ammendment in check and a short leash on the NRA – when gun nuts have guns, we’re all in danger. Restrict guns in churches to Pentacostal snake handling congregations – who have every good reason to carry.

  • gun owner

    “Guns should be restricted to law enforement officers only, in public venues – severe fines for violations should be levied”Law and Order, do you know who made the following argument?”Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

  • law and order

    Gun Owner – has nothing changed since the early Colonial era in American history? Parsing out early American traditions as a way of supporting your pro-gun position ignores the fact that self-policing was the order of the day in the 18th century – as it was in the Old and very Wild West a century later. But now, we have 300 million and counting and there’s a new Sheriff in town – it’s calledHiring a few trained law enforement agents to police hazardous public situations where necessary seems the make considerable sense. This is what is typically done these days, and to great effect. The concept of ‘an armed militia’ has a very negative connotation in our recent history, and usually brings to mind various White Supremacist./super patriot groups that have operated covertly to wreak considerable havoc and destruction on our modern organized society. Arming groups of people, including church congregations, is the first step in returning to an armed militia – do we want that in the USA?You’d better take on poll on the popularity of that possibile development.

  • Robert Gandy (RCG)

    Thank Gods I don’t go to one of your churches. That is scary. DEFLAG mentioned concealed weapons and the presence of police, military, etc in the church with legitimate reason to carry them.

  • erika van heusen

    Since Jesus was definetively GAY he would deputize John Elton.