A campaign on the Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo has raised $380,779 from 8987 people as of 9am EST on Thursday, in order to support the legal defense of Kyle Rittenhouse, the Antioch, Illinois teenager who killed 2 people and severely injured another during after-curfew militia actions after a protest against police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
A spokesperson for GiveSendGo told Forbes that this is "largest and fastest growing campaign" since the site launched in 2014.
The "Fundraising Story" reads:
Kyle Rittenhouse just defended himself from a brutal attack by multiple members of the far-leftist group ANTIFA – the experience was undoubtedly a brutal one, as he was forced to take two lives to defend his own.
Now, Kyle is being unfairly charged with murder 1, by a DA who seems determined only to capitalize on the political angle of the situation. The situation was clearly self-defense, and Kyle and his family will undoubtedly need money to pay for the legal fees.
Let's give back to someone who bravely tried to defend his community.
The payment processor that was being used for this campaign shut down our ability to fundraise, but GiveSendGo was able to find another payment solution to keep the campaign going!
To be clear: there is no evidence to suggest nor prove that any of the victims of Rittenhouse's trigger finger had anything to do with any loosely organized clusters of anti-fascist activists. According to eyewitness testimonies and the criminal complaint filed against Rittenhouse, the only "brutal attack" he endured was the sight of a plastic bag full of trash flying through the air — a threat so dire that, indeed, he was "forced" to kill people in order to defend his life.
Look, state-by-state gun laws are complicated; it gets even more complicated when you're crossing state lines, as Rittenhouse did. And when you're underage and thus illegally handling a firearm, regardless of how it came into your possession. But of course, Rittenhouse's lawyers are going to push for the self-defense claim before turning to the underage issue as a Hail Mary, in case somehow they can't convince a jury that an underage vigilante seeking thrills by deliberately putting himself in harm's way in order to fulfill some masturbatory militia fantasy was the real victim here.
What truly breaks my heart is seeing the Christians who come to the rabid defense of gun violence, who twist Biblical verses with such fervent zeal in order to retroactively rewrite continuity to justify killing — which, to be fair, is a long and storied Christian tradition. Christian Concealed Carry Dot Com — which is a real fucking website — rationalizes this as such:
For the sake of brevity, we can all agree that the Lord not only tolerated weapons but commanded his earthly servants to use them, at times. God also made provision for civilians to use deadly force to stop intruders to protect their loved ones and even their own life, as we see in the very practical Mosaic law (Exodus 22:2) that protected the rights of an individual to use deadly force to protect against home invasion:
"IF A THIEF IS CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF BREAKING INTO A HOUSE AND IS STRUCK AND KILLED IN THE PROCESS, THE PERSON WHO KILLED THE THIEF IS NOT GUILTY OF MURDER."
Furthermore, the scriptures do not command us not use weapons to save other peoples lives.
That's Exodus, not Jesus, but sure. This weak and shabby excuse doesn't work for Kyle Rittenhouse's case though, since he wasn't saving anyone else's life.
An article on American Vision titled, "Jesus, Guns, and Self-Defense: What Does the Bible Say?" offers this retcon rationalization:
Being loving, peaceful, just and generous, and self-giving do not nullify our responsibility to be prepared with a good "self-defense" strategy if we are ever confronted with a San Bernardino type situation. Being armed and willing to defend ourselves, our family, and our neighbors is not being unchristian or even unloving. Self-defense can go a long way to protect the innocent from people who are intent on murder for whatever reason.
How "self-giving" should Christians in Paris or San Bernardino have been when confronted with the worst kind of human evil? Would it have been more "self-giving" by dying at the hands of murderers or would it have been more loving to stop those who were pumping bullets into people?
Which is just a really grossly selfish justification for martyrdom.
Later, in the same piece:
There's Jesus' injunction to "turn the other cheek" (Matt. 5:38-39). Jesus does not say to keep turning your cheek. His message is about not escalating the situation. There's quite a difference between slapping someone across the face and someone wanting to take a baseball bat to your head or the head of your wife and/or children. Self-defense is a biblical option in such cases. Consider this passage from biblical case law:
"If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft" (Ex. 22:2-3).
The homeowner can assume that someone breaking into his house at night has nothing but bad intentions. He may be armed or not. The homeowner does not have to ask any questions to find out. The homeowner can respond by striking the intruder "so that he dies." If this happens, even if the attempt was only theft (unknown to the homeowner), the homeowner is cleared of all guilt in the thief's death.
Once again, turning to the Old Testament and ignoring everything about Jesus. This writer's argument against "turn the other cheek" is also self-defeating. While a gun can be used to de-escalate, that's an incredibly rare circumstance — and the more readily available are the guns, the more they'll be used without good reason, thus leading to greater escalation, which defies Christ's teachings. Look no further than Kyle Rittenhouse, who absolutely escalated the situation with his gun.
This article then goes on to point to the story of David and Goliath, saying that, well, David had a sling and five smooth stones, which is basically a gun. Except the author ignores the fact that this was an agreed-upon combat situation during a formal battle between opposing forces. And then there's this:
Peter impetuously uses his sword against a servant of the high priest (John 18:10; Matt. 26:51; Luke 22:50) who had come out with a crowd armed with clubs and swords (Luke 22:52). In biblical terms, his actions were impermissible and under biblical law would have required some form of restitution of which Jesus immediately made (Ex. 21:22-25). Under normal circumstances, swords were permissible for self-defense, otherwise, why did the "chief priests and officers of the temple and elders" have them? There is, however, something else going on here of biblical theological importance that has little to do with self-defense.
However the sword passage is interpreted, at no time did Jesus condemn anyone for having a sword. The disciples lived in dangerous times (Luke 10:29-37).
There's actually an interesting Antifa parallel here. Peter swings his sword at Malchus, an armed and oppressive agent of the state who is trying to arrest Jesus (leading to his crucifixion). But Jesus makes sure that Peter only cuts off Malchus's ear, instead of killing him. Jesus then heals Malchus, and says "No more of this!" Which sounds like compassionate self-defense against fascism, IMHO.
Another popular article on Biblical justifications for arming Christians with guns comes from Biblical Self Defense Dot Com, which cites from a much larger sample of the Bible. But even then: the confirmation bias is rampant. Again, on the few occasions where the New Testament is mentioned, it has to do with the Last Supper and leading up to Christ's Crucifixion, and it refuses to acknowledge alternate interpretations of any its passages. For example: Jesus does say "He who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one" during the Last Supper, then says that 2 swords is enough. But I've heard plenty of liberal theologians argue that this was all part of Jesus's plot to fulfill the prophecy of his crucifixion. He already set up Judas to betray him — there was no surprise there, which is why Judas was so ashamed that he took his own life. It stands to reason then Christ knew that Simon Peter would swing that sword at Malachus during his arrest, too, giving Jesus another opportunity to demonstrate his compassion before his death. The swords weren't there for self-defense; they were there for the setup.
Many of these Christian Gun Justification websites do pay lip service to that little Commandment of "Thou shalt not murder," — which they always conveniently translate as "murder," rather than "kill." This allows them to then say, "Yeah, sure, cold-blooded murder is obviously bad. But here are all these other occasions where the Bible says killing is cool; therefore, I need to open carry an AR-15 just in case I discover that my neighbor's wife is cheating on him and need to put her to death!" (The same goes with working on Sabbath, btw)
To be fair, there are plenty of Christians who recognize the absurd contradiction between their faith and the American faith in firearms. It's the ones bending over backwards to find a way to praise Kyle Rittenhouse as some sort of heroic Christian martyr despite all video, testimonial, and Biblical evidence to the contrary.
Christian Site Raises Nearly $327,000 For Alleged Kenosha Teen Shooter Kyle Rittenhouse [Karen Robinson-Jacobs / Forbes]
Raise money for Kyle Rittenhouse Legal Defense
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