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25 May 2022
Prayers are the Problem

Jesus’ Biggest Fans Are Abetting Mass Slaughter

With two new mass shootings under our nation’s (ammo) belt, we’re again hearing calls for “thoughts and prayers,” though the phrase is so obviously vacuous it’s widely mocked. We’re sick of thoughts and prayers. We want action. But I haven’t seen anyone acknowledge that the prayers are actually the problem.

Here in Texas, we are ruled by Southern Baptists, who dominate the GOP in an unholy alliance with Big Oil and the gun industry. Yes, the same Southern Baptists whose own Convention admitted, in a damning report, that the denomination is rife with rape and sexual abuse, including abuse of children, and that its leadership has made a practice of condoning and covering up these crimes.

The Baptists, along with their Catholic allies on the U.S. Supreme Curia, I mean Court, have ensured that even the most common-sense gun regulations cannot be enacted or, if passed, cannot take effect. Thus a teenager can legally assemble an arsenal worthy of Rambo, acquire body armor and other combat gear, openly declare his intent to commit a mass shooting, and slaughter innocent Black people or little school children. All of this behavior, according to the Baptist-Catholic axis, must be permitted under the Second Amendment up to the actual mass shooting.

It’s probably no coincidence that both denominations are rife with sexual predation, a paternalistic attitude that prioritizes embryos over the women who carry them, and an insistence on male dominance when it comes to their clergy, as well as a political stance that makes gun owners into Biblical patriarchs, empowered to deal death at will and at the expense of militarily weaker women, children, and unarmed civilians. Compare the paternalism of Moscow’s Patriarch Kirill in endorsing the unhinged slaughter of these same groups by oh-so-manly Russian troops in Ukraine. Kirill’s Jesus applauds the bombing of His own churches because the country allowed a gay-pride parade. So bring on the Kalashnikovs. Same in Texas, but we call them AR-15s.

The Sunday before every election, Baptist parishioners are treated to a sermon about how the opponents of the GOP are Marxists and Communists, as well as perverts, therefore atheists and enemies of Christ. The preacher may hew to the letter of the law in not mentioning which party to vote for, but the intent is obvious. The evangelical churches are to the GOP what the unions used to be for the Democrats: a way to instruct the faithful how to vote the following Tuesday. And part of the appeal is the fetishization of guns and ammo. Rather than turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) or loving their enemies (5:44), evangelicals are encouraged to gun up and smite those enemies.

The militarization of all aspects of Texan society, egged on by our Baptist officials, has led to an environment in schools where racist police patrol the halls with arms and walkie-talkies. Most students get the message: always obey the man with the gun. But a few, as in Uvalde, learn a different lesson: be the man with the gun.

The same leaders who have created a highly armed society, unique in the developed world, have made clear their vision for 2024: Should the GOP lose, not just (as usual) the popular vote, but the electoral vote, Republican-dominated legislatures in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, and Arizona will simply claim the results were fraudulent and install their own electors in a bloodless coup. And, if people object, a whole new slew of militias on the model of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers will enforce the result, brandishing their assault rifles and clad in body armor, looking just like the Buffalo shooter.

Most Americans will just shrug off the end of democracy. It was sick and ineffective anyway. Putin’s transformation from bland official to tyrant was gradual, originally based on what seemed like democratic norms. When I was in Moscow in 2019, it seemed to be a thriving, well run European capital. There was no political freedom, but so what? The shelves were full; gasoline was cheap; the snow was getting shoveled. It all looked fine until 2022, when the strongman went mad and sent tens of thousands of young men to die for nothing, while wrecking the economy and cutting the nation off from the rest of the world on a whim. That’s where President-for-Life DeSantis is going to take us—if we let him.

Thanks to our Christofascist overlords, it is too late to hope for a return to an unarmed, peaceful society. The local militia is getting ready to occupy your courthouse square in the name of Jesus. But we can literally turn their weapons against them.

Time to gun up. Get some serious weaponry and body armor. Get trained. Be ready to resist the 2024 coup. In this disastrous world, you’re either a Russian or a Ukrainian. I stand with Zelensky.

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