The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Friday, April 2, 2010

"Christian" Militia

Among the more prominent stories in the media these days is the news of the FBI raids on a self-proclaimed Christian militia group in the Midwest. It seems the members of this group, through their own unique interpretation of Scripture, believe they are called to be "Christian warriors" and have decided their enemy is the federal government, and in particular, law enforcement. According to the group's website, "We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ...Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment." I especially like that "using equipment" phrase.

Apparently the group planned all kinds of nasty things, including the targeting of law enforcement personnel, and even their families. They allegedly planned to make 911 calls, kill any responding officers, and then set off bombs at their funerals. Nice "Christian" folks.

It all leads me to several conclusions. First, it shows the dangers inherent in individual interpretation of Sacred Scripture and why we need the Magisterium of the Church inspired by the Holy Spirit.

It also reminds me that Jesus didn't say, "Render unto Caesar..." for nothing. We are not called to be a lawless people. We are called to evangelize, to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world, and to do so peacefully, not with weapons or "equipment".

Most of what "Caesar" claims does not conflict with the claims of God. And when those conflicts do arise, we must courageously resist them by preaching God's Word. Look to the example of the martyrs, men and women who throughout the centuries chose to sacrifice their own lives rather then follow unjust laws that conflicted with Christian morality and the teachings of the Church.

I also resent the media's characterizaton of this and similar groups as "Christian" simply because they claim to be Christian. Although in their ignorance of things religious, I suppose the media can be excused if they misunderstand what Christianity actually teaches. After all, how many politicians claim to be and are considered to be Catholic even though they willfully and publicly disagree with the most basic, and long settled, Church teaching?

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