After all, if our lord could make water into wine, surely he could have chosen to make a slingshot into an AR-15.
Imagine how bad-ass he would have been, armed with divine powers *and* an assault rifle. He could have taken out half the Roman army in Jerusalem singlehandedly.
I watched this and laughed, thinking Boebert was making an absurdist joke. And a pretty decent one! It’s the same premise as the “Gandhi II” skit in “UHF,” essentially. But the clip got more than a million views and some unwelcome attention online because no one’s sure. (One Christian site allowed that she was joking but found the joke “pretty troubling.”) The MAGAs in Congress believe some comically outlandish things, remember. How can you tell when they’re being absurd on purpose versus by accident?
Lauren Boebert claims Jesus “didn’t have enough [AR-15s] to keep his government from killing him.” pic.twitter.com/dTC9O7ZFDz
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) June 14, 2022
The other reason some are taking her at face value is because Boebert’s support for gun rights bleeds into gun fetishism. She named her business “Shooters Grill,” campaigned for Congress with a Glock on her hip, displayed her AR-15s during congressional Zoom hearings, and had her four young kids brandishing assault rifles in a Christmas photo. If there’s anyone who might be prone to fantasizing about the Son of God shooting his way out of the Garden of Gethsemane, it’s her.
It’s been 30 years since I’ve read the Bible but I do remember the passage in which one of Jesus’s disciples cuts off the ear of one of the men attempting to arrest him. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus instructs him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” An armed insurrection by the Apostles would have prevented the crucifixion and resurrection, thwarting the redemption of mankind. Not great.
But that’s the point of Boebert’s joke, as I took it. Just because she’s a little nutty and has exalted firearms as a supreme culture-war totem doesn’t mean she lacks a sense of humor or doesn’t understand the gospels.
Then again, shoehorning the Passion into a banal “cancel culture” framework does make me wonder:
Lauren Boebert: “They tried to cancel Jesus” and “the apostles.” pic.twitter.com/S5ZjRxVZdP
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) June 15, 2022
The image of Jesus wielding an AR-15 is actually tailor-made for the post-liberal New Right, which finds Christian nationalism very groovy, baby. The term “Christian nationalist” traditionally has carried negative connotations because Christianity doesn’t need nationalism to prop it up. Just ask the vast majority of American Christians who aren’t nationalists. As such, when political actors strain to meld the two concepts, that’s a strong clue that they’re less interested in the Christianity part and more interested in the nationalism, hoping to lend some religious gravitas to their policy preferences. The average Christian, I think, would call themselves a Christian first and a political actor second. The Christian nationalist … doesn’t order things so neatly, let’s say.
Anyway, the negative connotations are out the window. “Christian nationalists” are increasingly out and proud:
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says that Christian nationalism is nothing to fear because it’s the only thing that can stop school shootings, crime, and sexual immorality, declaring that anyone who opposes it is a “domestic terrorist.” pic.twitter.com/0WhcAfFeCT
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) June 3, 2022
I’d be curious to know if Marge Greene finds any tension between her Christian beliefs and her political beliefs (say, on immigration) or if she thinks one leads inexorably to the other in all particulars. Is MAGA inerrant, in other words?
One last point about Boebert’s joke. During the post-election period in 2020, some of Trump’s most famous supporters wanted him to use military power to overturn the election. Mike Flynn called for “limited martial law” to conduct a do-over vote of the vote. Others urged Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act. That’s the closest we’ve come in my lifetime to the U.S. government turning the military against the people, the scenario cited by Boebert for needing an AR-15. Question, then: If Trump had actually listened to Flynn and the rest and imposed martial law, whose side do we think gun-loving patriot Lauren Boebert would have been on? Whose side would Greene have been on? The idea of the Second Amendment as a bulwark against government fascism only works if you’re prepared to use your weapons to resist that fascism rather than support it.
For an extreme example, look no further than Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers. Rhodes was once so committed to defending civil liberties from government encroachment that he worked for Ron Paul. He’s now charged with seditious conspiracy for his role in the insurrection, which followed a period in which he openly called on Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act and vowed that the Oath Keepers were “stationed outside D.C. as a nuclear option” if he did. This guy was seemingly prepared to use his own members as shock troops to *abet,* not prevent, a fascist power grab. The next time a Boebert or Greene warns that they have their assault rifles standing by in case of armed conflict between the feds and the American people, ask yourself which side their rifles would be pointed at.