By Theodore Shoebat
Christian pastors in Kenya, who are now under threat of Islamic persecution by the jihadist group Al-Shabaab, are requesting from the government firearms so that the Christians can defend themselves. The Kenyan government rejected the request. According to the report:
Kenyan pastors have renewed calls to be allowed to carry firearms following the killing of a church official in Mombasa, but a lawmaker has rejected the plea.
Speaking after a meeting with Mombasa deputy county commissioner Salim Mahmoud, the pastors said they needed to carry weapons for self-protection against religious opponents, an apparent reference to suspected Muslim extremists who have attacked churches and Christians in the recent past. In the latest incident this past Sunday, gunmen on a motorbike shot dead an assistant pastor at the Maximum Revival Centre before escaping. Police have yet to arrest the assailants.
Christian leaders blame the increased attacks on the radicalization of Muslim youth. The attacks have occurred amid protests by Muslims that Kenya’s war on terrorism targets them unfairly.
In the past, sympathizers of the al-Shabaab terror group have threatened to kill pastors as revenge for the killing of Muslim clerics. So far, no one has been arrested for the killing of the Muslim clerics, either.
Church leaders Bishop Lambert Mbela, Bishop MacDonald Kitwa of Good News Evangelical Centre, and Jeremiah Goodison met with the government to make the request. Their plea reflects a growing frustration with rising insecurity in the country and the coastal area in particular.
Lawmaker Alice Wahome, a member of the Administration and National Security Committee in Kenya’s National Assembly has rejected the request, saying it would increase lawlessness in the country. She said the government needs to improve security in general and increase firearms for police officers instead of arming individuals.
Thank God for the Second Amendment, without it we would be under the mercy of the state. Christians in Kenya are going to have to do what the Christians of Nigeria and Central Africa did, and that is to somehow obtain their own weapons and form militias to fight against the Islamic onslaught.
Righteous militas, formed for the cause of God and for the love of humanity, are not against Christianity.
When the Church is surrounded by pagan enemies, left to the slaughter by indifferent governors, is deprived of state troops or officers to protect it, but is in possession of arms and weapons to unsheathe against its charging adversary, Christians then form militias, and with justice and equitableness, strike the devilish foes before they oppress the vulnerable flock.
The idea of Christian militias fighting a tyrannical state was opposed by the Protestant reformer Melanchthon, who was against the idea of revolution even if it were against an abusive government. If the “magistrate commands anything with tyrannical caprice,” he wrote in 1521, “we must bear with this magistrate because of love, where nothing can be changed without a public uprising or sedition.” (Quoted by John Witte, Law and Protestantism, ch. 4, p. 137)
But the Catholic position, as conveyed by St. Robert, says that “self-defense is lawful for anybody, not only for a prince, but also for a private citizen”. *Bellarmine, On Laymen or Secular People, ch. 15, ed. Tutino, pp. 68-69* And St. Thomas says:
Tyrannical rule is not just, because it is not directed to the common good but to the private good of the ruler … Disruption of such a government therefore does not have the character of sedition, unless perhaps the tyrant’s rule is disrupted so inordinately that the community subject to it suffers greater detriment from the ensuing disorder than it did from the tyrannical government itself. Indeed it is the tyrant who is guilty of sedition, since he nourishes discord and sedition among his subjects in order to be able to dominate them more securely. (Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, IIa IIae 64, article 2)
Therefore, Christians can form militias to protect themselves and to defend the Church from attackers, without state approval. Christian militias are organized for several reasons: defend the Church from oppression and attacks, protect the defenseless, and to uproot the pagan threat before it makes a great slaughter of Christians.
All of the goals of the Christian militias are governed by one aspiration: justice. If any action goes against, or as has nothing to do with justice, then it must be cast aside. Every crusade, and every holy war, must be done for the advancement of justice and for the destruction of tyranny.
When the Jews were under the sovereignty of the Persians, and were working to rebuild the Temple, they were encompassed by rapacious pagans, who cried out with heathen fury, ““They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.” (Nehemiah 4:11)
The Jews, with the greatest consternation, cried out, “From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.” (Nehemiah 4:12) What was Nehemiah to do? He could not turn to the officers of the state, nor depend upon the government for protection. He thus resolved to form a militia, not of civil troops, but of common folk. He did not think twice when he “positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows.” (Nehemiah 4:13)
He did not hesitate when he declared to the people with fortitude, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” (Nehemiah 4:14)
Nehemiah was not some vigilante, but a monastic prophet. Therefore it is the right of the Church to defend itself against conniving wolves and enemies who conspire and plan for its destruction. It was because of the weapons bore by the people, under the command of their holy prophet, that the pagans were struck with fear, and delayed their ambush. As the Nehemiah wrote:
And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah.
Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me. (Nehemiah 4:15-18)
The command of Nehemiah to bear a sword by one’s side, is in accordance to the injunction of Christ when He told the Apostles,
But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. (Luke 22:36)
St. Thomas, a monastic, permitted Christian revolution when the sovereign becomes severely tyrannical, and he references to the coup done by Ehud against the king of Moab, in the Old Testament, to substantiate his point:
If, however, a tyranny were so extreme as to be intolerable, it has seemed to some that it would be an act consistent with virtue if the mightier men were to slay the tyrant, exposing themselves to the peril of death in order to liberate the community. For a certain Ehud slew Eglon, king of Moab, with a dagger ‘fastened to his thigh’, because he oppressed the people of God with a harsh bondage; and for this deed Ehud was made a judge of the people. (Aquinas, De regimine principum, 1.7)
In another place St. Thomas wrote that “sometimes the things commanded by a ruler are against God. Therefore rulers are not to be obeyed in all things.” (Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, IIa IIae, 104, article 5) St. Thomas, in one writing, declared that “he who delivers his country by slaying a tyrant is to be praised and rewarded.” (Aquinas, Scripta super libros sententiarum, II:44:2:2, article 2)
Peter Lombard, amongst the most influential and reputable scholastics of the Middle Ages, wrote that “if the emperor commands one thing and God another, you must disregard the former and obey God.” (Lombard, Collectanea in omnes de Pauli apostoli epistolas, PL 191:1505, in Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, IIa IIae, 104, article 5)
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that there are three forms of obedience: obedience sufficient for salvation, which one is obligated to do for eternal life; the second is perfect obedience, which obeys in all things lawful; and the third is indiscriminate obedience, which recklessly obeys all things regardless of how destructive they may be. (Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, IIa IIae, 104, article 5)
The first, no government can take away; the second must always be in accordance to God’s law; and the third is both volatile and dangerous because it gives the rulers absolute license to order acts contrary to God’s law. This thoughtless obedience contradicts the first two, and is more fitting to the excessive obedience seen in cults, or in the Japanese and Ottoman Turks, who obeyed their emperors in their commands to plunder, rape and slaughter millions.
If what a king demands is not for God, but for the devil, then, as St. Thomas instructs, “not only is one not bound to obey the ruler, but one is bound not to obey him, as in the case of the holy martyrs who suffered death rather than obey the ungodly commands of tyrants.” (Aquinas, Scripta super libros sententiarum II, Dist. 44, quaest. 2, article 2, trans. R.W. Dyson)
The Christian society has the right to overthrow its rulers if they have proven themselves to be enemies, and not defenders, of the true Faith, and this can be done even if they are legitimately ruling, as St. Thomas tells us. (Aquinas, De regimine principum, 1.8)
The Church can validly push for revolution against tyrannical governments. For even in the sacred Scriptures, legitimately ruling are rightfully killed by the saints. The Scriptures praise the valiant Hezekiah for rebelling against the Assyrian empire, declaring, “The Lord was with him; he prospered wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.” (2 Kings 18:7)
Elijah anointed Jehu to kill the king Joram, who was legitimately ruling, and even so God commended him, saying “Because you have done well in doing what is right in My sight, and have done to the house of Ahab all that was in My heart, your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” (2 Kings 10:30)