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GIANFORTE INCIDENT: Stand On Principle — Even When Political Pressure Urges Us To Give In

Last week, the Republican candidate for Congress in Montana, Gianforte, allegedly assaulted a pushy reporter. Gianforte was arrested, won the election, and will get his day in court. Many on The Right, fed up with a media that hypocritically eggs on Leftist violence, heaped “Attaboys!” on Gianforte while giving all kinds of excuses for the pugilistic Congress-critter. “Justifications” on our side ranged from “The Left started it!” to, “The press is [unpatriotic, arrogant, lying, biased, ignorant, jerks; pick one] so he deserved it!” to, “He deserved it because: [he provoked him, he hit first, was trespassing] to the far more honest, “Well I just FEEL better that someone finally hit back!” and, “After all, hasn’t the MSM encouraged and justified Leftist violence for years?” (Yes, it has.)

Folks, I disagree with all these attempts to excuse Gianforte’s action. My column is here to teach that anyone wearing the name “Christian” must live up to certain biblical standards and teach others to do so as well. “This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20.

Tempers are high in America. Some say we haven’t been so politically divided since the Civil War. There are even a few nutcases on both sides who hope for a civil war. However, I’m addressing the sane and godly among us. Over time, though, even sane, godly folks get fed up from repeated illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional provocations committed by the Left and cheered by the MSM. It’s natural that we take joy in one of our own hitting back. Yet it is this very vicarious joy that we must NOT feed within ourselves!

“Through presumption [pride] comes nothing but strife, but with those who receive counsel is Wisdom.” Prov. 13:10. A Christian must NEVER act out of annoyance, selfish anger, or to cultivate a macho image. We especially should not spew our aggressive, ungodly anger on the Internet. Remember, the Internet is forever. Get into a real use-of-force encounter, and your intent could be judged in court by your repeated intemperate web comments. Don’t let someone use your words to portray you as a thoughtless hothead who can’t bear to be insulted without resorting to violence. “A fool shows his ignorance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” Prov. 12:16.

So how should we respond to Gianforte’s encounter with the reporter? If he’s guilty, the courts should not cut him slack because of his position. Our stand regarding criminals or the innocent on the Right or Left should be “Equal justice for all.” We need to keep our heads when reacting to such news. The Left destroys its credibility each time it riots when court outcomes don’t go their way. Let’s not destroy ours by denigrating the Rule of Law as they do. Eventually, rational Americans will figure out that “ANTIFA” means, “Anarchists Not Truthful or Interested in Freedom Anywhere”. Descending to their level only brings on the chaos and resulting government crackdown on our liberties that they seek. When that happens, do you think Obama and Pelosi will call for THEIR rioters to be suppressed, or for the rounding up of gun owners, small businessmen, conservative talk radio, and any Right-Wing groups?

Look, I understand the urge to hit back, but DO NOT give in to it! Force must ONLY be used in legal defense of self, others, and property. That does NOT include rallying groups to fight it out in the streets with Commie protesters — that’s the cops’ job! To matter, principles of freedom and goodness must be adhered to. The Ends do not justify the Means!

Jesus warns us not to use aggressive force. Matthew 26: 52. Just because we momentarily feel better slapping a loudmouth jerk doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. “

Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, as much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God. For it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink, for in this way you will heap coals of fire upon his head.” Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:17-21.

Deal with others as individuals, not as faceless members of stereotypical groups. Violent, committed Commie agitators are few. Most of their followers are ignorant and duped. Let’s educate them, not beat them up or scare them off with threatening comments.

America was founded for a finer, godly purpose. John Winthrop, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, preached this message to his people as the embarked for the new World in 1630. “For we must consider that we shall be as a city on a hill.” he said,

The eyes of all people are upon us. Beloved, there is now set before us life and good, and death and evil, in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in His ways and keep His commandments … that the Lord may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it.

Forged in Faith by Rod Gragg (Howard Books, 2010) pp.50-51.

Principles mean something, my friends. Do not surrender them and lose the blessings of God for the momentary satisfaction of getting down on our adversaries’ level.

photo credit: Watching the Horizons from Mount Mire via photopin (license)

Share if you agree its most important to stand on principles when the pressure is on to throw them away.

Greg Hopkins

Greg Hopkins is a recovering lawyer, city prosecutor, police Use-of-Force law instructor, former city judge in two towns and criminal defense lawyer. He’s been teaching the Bible to teens and adults for 40 years. He now trains CCP holders and armed church security teams in self defense law. He also does expert witnessing in firearms and self defense cases. His book is A Time To Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism, on the Bible and Self Defense.