A speech by retired baseball star Adam LaRoche at the NRA’s prayer breakfast this weekend has caused some controversy.
He told those in attendance, “Jesus loves me and my guns. Don’t get me wrong: Jesus is all about love, grace, mercy …” though he added, that he didn’t think Christ “was a pacifist and always carried a white lamb around and tiptoed through life avoiding controversy.”
He also pointed to a verse in Matthew that said, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34).
However, many scholars argue that, the verse isn’t a call to violence, but describes how divisive the gospel can be in relationships with unbelievers (it may cause you to lose friends and family, splitting them (like a sword), not causing peace within them). The verse is followed by this: “For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
The donor who delivered opening invocation prayed, “Lord, we put our faith and trust in you and not in governments or militaries or our own technology or even the strength of our own arms. Still, we humbly ask you to direct and bless our efforts against those who would seek to take away those freedoms. Empower us to protect the peace of our homes and ensure the safety of those defending the homeland overseas and deliver us from despots of tyranny.”
As The Washington Post noted, “At Sunday’s breakfast, no mention was made of the mass shootings or the victims.”