It saddens me that the Hutaree militia group has prominently identified itself as a Christian militia, that the media has gone along with that in almost every headline on air and in print, and that there are many other militia groups that also adopt the name of Christian. There is nothing Christian about any of them.
At best they have taken a few passages of scripture, stripped them of their context and distorted their meaning beyond all recognition. A case in point: apparently the Hutaree group took sentences from Matthew 16:34 where Jesus said that he came not to bring peace but a sword, and Luke 22:36 where he advised the disciples to sell their cloaks and buy swords, as a literal call to arms to combat the antichrist, whoever that might be in their twisted minds. The context of these passages speaks more of Jesus’ great sadness that his message of peace and reconciliation would be met with violence, and his bitterness that his disciples did not understand the irony of taking up the sword. Indeed, his response to its use in the Garden of Olives was to heal the injury caused.
One problem is that militia groups like these are egged on by some Christians who obsess about the last days, Armageddon, and other heavenly battles described in the Revelation to John, anticipating them soon to be literally experienced in earthly time. Apparently there are apocalyptic fundamentalists who believe that we are yet to experience the final battle between God and the devil, that the outcome is not at all certain, and that unless good Christians enlist as warriors in God’s army, he may well lose. Such thinking does a terrible disservice to Holy Scripture, and in the face of Holy Week it simply crumbles into dust as utter nonsense. Just the same, it has captured the imagination of more than a few.
Militia groups who dare to take the name Christian teeter on the brink of fanatical Jihadism as it is. It doesn’t take much to push them over, and, in my opinion, the apocalyptic fundamentalists do just that.
Every year we hear a few nuts demanding to get Christ back into Christmas. Maybe what we need more is to get Christ back into Christianity.