She uttered the words, “Lord The Day Is At Hand! We Are In The Last Days! You Are Jehovah God!” You might think this is a fringe cult leader uttering these extreme words of admonishment. Nope, it’s just Teaparty darling Michele Bachmann (R), a now four term Representative from Minnesota’s sixth district, revealing her religious fanaticism as if we all share these beliefs. These words spoken by powerful leaders can have disastrous effects on people by playing to their fear of the unknown. What better way to combine god and guns than preparing people for some prophesied apocalypse.
The idea that we are in the end times or “latter days” seems to be popular among not just fringe groups, but mainstream religions. It is true that, for many decades, the LDS cult followers have been admonished to accumulate, and then use on a rotating basis (to keep it fresh), a minimum one-year supply but ideally a TWO-YEAR supply of food. The whole idea was that some catastrophe was imminent (a nuclear holocaust?), and that each and every LDS household would need that storage to survive. The prevalent attitude was that when the apocalypse came, the non- and jack-mormon neighbors would try to raid the homes of the obedient, righteous LDS to get their 2-year supplies, and thus it was also necessary to have firearms to protect themselves and their families, a.k.a. the chosen good guys against the evil mobs. It was coming! Be prepared! One of the largest unregulated Internet gun sites is Mormon-owned, further contributing to our firearm-obsessed society. We can’t forget the most famous Mormon doomsday preacher, Glenn Beck and his fearmongering, which does little to comfort anyone with paranoid psychoses.
Tragedy-stricken Newtown, CT is a heavily Republican stronghold. The mother of the shooter was a Conservative, “NRA guns & god enthusiast”. Nancy Lanza, murdered by her son Adam was a so called “doomsday prepper/survivalist” worried about the imminent economic implosion that will inevitably accompany President Obama’s second term. Certainly, she did not deserve her fate, but was it wise to instill this paranoia in an already unstable person? How did a so-called responsible gun owner allow her mentally handicapped son to get a hold of her guns and ammo? Perhaps we will never know. But we do know this mindset can have tragic consequences.
This week, a Utah sixth grader came to school with a gun in his backpack citing the recent shooting as the reason for carrying a lethal firearm around defenseless children. Utah happens to be the second most heavily armed state in America, as it is over 70% LDS, which ardently supports the NRA. The potential disaster was averted when authorities intervened and put the boy in custody. Why do so many children and mentally unstable individuals have access to so many guns? Because we are the most heavily armed nation on earth with 90 guns per 100 people. Guns are far more readily available here than they are in other countries, even a volatile nation like Yemen has fewer firearms per capita.
The number of hate groups continues to rise since 2000, even more so now that President Obama has been re-elected. I am not just referencing extremist groups like the online white nationalist forum Stormfront. I’m talking about the prevalence of joint NRA-ALEC legislation that allows for semi-automatics to legally terrorize our streets. The NRA is closely aligned with the most extreme elements in the Republican Party and has brought a number of the GOP’s most influential operatives into positions of power within the organization. The GOP and NRA are now locked in a symbiotic relationship where Republican legislators advance the NRA’s extreme agenda while the NRA musters its hardcore supporters to serve as attack dogs for a wide range of conservative causes. In recent years, they’ve sought to spread laws that would prevent cities from banning machine guns—”…guns whose rapid repeating rounds have nothing to do with hunting deer or other game and everything to do with maximizing the death toll when fired at human beings,” according to PRWatch.org.
God and guns seem to go together which brings to mind when then Candidate Obama mentioned how some people cling to their religion and their guns. This caused an outrage not seen until Mitt Romney uttered his 47% remark at a private fundraiser. People are very defensive about both matters, as if they are one in the same. Mike Huckabee attributed this recent tragedy not to our insane violent gun culture, but the absence of “god” from our classrooms. Fortunately, there are sane people teaching our children that know much better than the Fox News crowd.
It’s not just in America that firearms and the clergy have symbiotically coexisted. One of the world’s wealthiest institutions, the Catholic Church, is also laden with a history of turning a blind eye to the real cause of violence. Perhaps not as egregious as the Crusades or the Inquisition, recent church history is also pretty shameful. The refusal of Pope Pius XII to excommunicate Hitler and Mussolini during World War II forever marred his pontificate with a historically unpopular position of neutrality. When the Nazis invaded Poland, Pius XII refused to condemn the invasion; reason was because one of the biggest advantages the Vatican enjoyed was the lucrative agreement he had with Hitler. In 1998, the Pope apologized for the church’s tacit cooperation with the Nazis, but the relationship with fascists is still evident today.
The modern opulence and security the Vatican enjoys is in part courtesy of the generosity of Benito Mussolini. Thanks to the signing of the Lateran Treaty between his government and the Vatican the Catholic Church enjoyed a number of safeguards and protection. Interestingly enough, the Vatican itself is the largest shareholder in Beretta Arms Company today, even though publicly it supports a UN ban on private gun ownership.
In this country, people like Mike Huckabee and the faith-based coalition will never assign culpability to the NRA. The GOP is entwined with fringe hate groups (see the Teaparty) and will continue to preach violence from the pulpit and/or Fox News, which is, at times, indistinguishable. Preaching about the second coming of Christ, the End of Days scenarios or a complete economic apocalypse can only make a culture steeped in violence more unstable and paranoid. Doomsday is a notion promulgated by superstition, folklore and religion. Imposing these fears on a society at large is both immoral and dangerous.