The Steampunk Vicar

A Presbyterian Pastor on Neo-Victoriana and American Faith

Category: Concerning Politics

In caedem

I suppose that, after a Fashion, I might be considered a Faith Leader. Lacking a Community of which I stand in Leadership – excepting you, of course, dear Reader – I sometimes neglect the Fact. Nevertheless, I am a Teaching Elder of the American Church of Scotland, duly ordained by the Presbytery of Olympia on behalf of Christ’s Church. Thus it falls to me, unpulpited though I am, to speak in the Silence of the Unspeakable – to claim the digital Pulpit which is, I begin to suspect, my present Calling, and to use it in the Service of the One who ultimately called me.

Thus, today, I offer up an imperative Sermon to you, gentle Reader, to those persons of the Christian Faith to whom  I am privileged to preach. This Sermon is taken from the simplest, clearest, and most pointed Texts that I can locate.

First, from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the Fifth Chapter, starting at the Fourty-Third Verse*:

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies: bless them that curse you: do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which hurt you, and persecute you,

45 That ye may be the children of your father that is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to arise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and unjust.

46 For if ye love them, which love you, what reward shall you have? Do not the Publicans even the same?

47 And if ye be friendly to your brethren only, what singular thing do ye? do not even the Publicans likewise?

48 Ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father which is in heaven, is perfect.

And then, my central Text, from the Hebrew Bible, the Book of the Exodus, the Twentieth Chapter, the Thirteenth Verse. Listen for God’s Word to you.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

Let us pray.

God of heaven, add unto us Understanding of your Word and Will for us. Even as your Children mistake and trample your Word, guide us in the Way that you would have us go.

Amen.

Do not kill People.

I am stunned, as ever, that I must specify this to you, gentle Reader. Whenever once again I am forced to address Murder on a massive Scale, I feel that my Kindred and I in the Clergy have, somehow, signally failed to impart even the most basic, simple Commandments. Thus, in the Wake of the Mass Shooting in Orlando, Florida, with fourty-nine Persons dead, a further fifty-three injured, in the Wake of this depraved Act of domestic Terror, in the Wake of this wanton Assault on the Lives of Revelers in a Space of Safety for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Communities, many of whom were persons of Latino or Latina descent, in the Wake of Murder most foul, once again, I fear that we, as a Priesthood, as a Community, as a Nation, as a Church, as a World, must reconsider, once more, this Commandment of the God of Israel, and its Implications for our Behaviour – to wit:

Do not kill People.

Do not kill People because you dislike how they are dressed.

Do not kill People because you dislike how they looked at you.

Do not kill People if you disagree with their public Behavior.

Do not kill People for Money, or Possessions, or Glory, or Honor.

Do not kill People because you do not like the Grade or Performance Review that they gave you.

Do not kill People because they break up with you, or will not yield to your romantic Ministrations.

Do not kill People because you regard them as impure.

Do not kill People because you believe them to be irreverent.

Do not kill People because you see them as unjust.

Do not kill People because you think them insufficiently compassionate.

Do not kill People because you feel that they are disloyal.

Do not kill People because they are gay. Or lesbian. Or bisexual. Or transgender. Or queer. Or intersex. Or asexual. For all of these identities and more, do not kill people.

Do not kill People because their Skin Color differs from your own.

Do not kill People to try and start a War.

Do not kill People because they do not worship your God.

Do not kill People because they do worship your God, but incorrectly, you feel.

Do not kill People because they hate you.

Do not kill People because you hate them.

Do not kill People because they have committed, or intend to commit, a Crime. Do not feel absolved from this – if it is in your Power to resist the Commission of a Crime, by all Means you should do so. But do, I beg, try not to kill People in the Process.

If it is possible to avoid doing so, do not kill People who are trying to kill you. Likewise, if avoidable, do not kill People who are trying to kill other People.

Do not purchase Weapons, place them in your Car, and drive somewhere for the express Purpose of killing People. If you do the first three things, neglect, please, the fourth, and do not kill the People.

Just, simply, and I know this might be rather difficult…do not kill People.

 

I know that this will, for some of you, present a burdensome Commandment. “Ah!” I hear you cry, “But what if I really must kill this Person, or this enormous Group of People, for the following excellent Reason!”

“No,” I shall reply. “Do not kill People.”I shall then point to the Passage in the Scriptures that commands you not to kill. Then I shall point at the Words of Jesus, the ways in which He lifts up not hating our Enemies, but blessing and praying for them. I shall note that we are to be different – better – than the ones who harass and persecute us. We are to be more good than our Foes.

This necessitates not killing them.

In short, Brothers and Sisters, Children of God, Daughters and Sons, Kindred of one another, in all your Ways and Walkings, in all the Turnings Life yields unto you, to the very best of your Ability…

…do not kill People.

The Word of the Lord.

Amen.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5&version=CEB
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+20&version=CEB

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De Hospitibus

I rather cannot believe that I feel obliged to say this aloud. The Point seems so elemental, so obvious to me from where I stand, that I cannot envision any Person imagining I could have any other Perspective. Certainly, likewise, I have great Difficulty in interpreting the perspectives of others on this Issue. Still and all, I must speak, lest I should keep an unholy Silence on one of this Nation’s greatest Trials. Thus, say I:

I condemn the Words of Mr. Donald Trump of New York, and the Attitudes and Fears that lie behind them. I declare myself opposed to any Abridgement of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, notably the Establishment of Religion and the Right to Peaceable Assembly. I, as an ordained Teaching Elder of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, as a Christian living in this Nation, yea, even as a human Being, I refuse to bow to Terror and the political Pressures of Thugs and Murderers from Abroad or Domestically. As Pastor, Christian, and Man, I declare that I support and endorse my Muslim Sisters and Brothers, their Right to worship as they choose, their Right to live and work in this Country, yea, their Right to live.

In support of this Standpoint, considered almost not at all by myself before its Composition, I offer the following Verses of Scripture.

First, from the Exodus of Israel, the Twenty-second Chapter, the Twenty-first through the Twenty-third verses:

21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. 22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. 23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;

And then, from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the Twenty-fifth Chapter.

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Friends, this is the Gospel of our Lord. Not a Gospel of secured Borders and backgrounds Checked. Not a Gospel of watch Lists and Visas denied. Not a Gospel that says “No, not you.” The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ promises us no Safety, no Security, no Shelter, and no Succor. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ promises us Christ alone…and eternal Life. And this promise it makes to Everyone, especially to Strangers, regardless Color or Nation.

And thus I say, to the estimable Mr. Trump – sir, you are wrong, and you do not speak for me. I speak for myself, when I say that I welcome Refugees, Immigrants, Muslims, and Persons of every Stripe and Kind to my Table. I so speak in the Name of Jesus the Christ, and I welcome these and more than these in His Name.

For my fearful Neighbors and Friends, I can say only this – if you believe on Jesus, then Anything you suffer in the Name of the Peace of Christ Jesus is a Martyrdom in His Witness. I should rather die a Victim of Terror than live a Victor because of it.

 

Post Scriptum

I considered linking to Mr. Trump’s Remarks, but shall choose instead to deny him further air Time. He must be taken seriously, as he currently leads the Polling for the Republican Party’s presidential Nomination. As with any communicable Illness, I shall choose hereafter to quarantine his Thinking, the better to prevent its Spread.