3.24.2008

Jesus, the Amish and Gun Laws: Just a Typical Easter Dinner

I have mentioned that my family likes to eat, but I forgot to add that we also like to have really heated discussions while we do so. Yesterday's Easter dinner was no exception.

Before everything had even been served my dad had initiated a discussion of the current presidential candidates and claimed they were all worthless. That was not surprising at all as my dad has never liked a single candidate - or president for that matter - that I can recall. The sole exception was Ross Perot, whose campaign signs dad displayed liberally in his yard for almost a year. Go figure.

Bojo, who has been the leader of the elect Hillary parade since before she even announced her candidacy has the annoying habit of never participating in political debate with me. Therefore, she sat mostly silent throughout this portion of the meal. She didn't even bust a vein when dad announced that Hillary was unfit to be president because she is a woman. I was left in the very awkward position of defending Hillary Clinton. Gah!

The discussion then moved on to the morality of abortion. I don't know how this happens, it just does in my family. Abortion flew by and capital punishment became a brief topic. I must say I was impressed that my usually opinionated father was actually pausing to hear the responses of others. Not that my stoopid family was being very participatory in the discussion up to this point. (Yeah, I'm talkin' to YOU Bojo!)

Then, somehow we arrived at the subject of gun ownership. Now "my dad and guns" could easily be the focus of hours of therapy for me, but for now let's just say that he has always had one ... some ... er, probably a lot. For over 40 years he has worked in law enforcement ... sorta. Anyway, Bojo suddenly woke from her stupor and decided to loudly proclaim her commitment to shooting anyone who came in her house uninvited; which led me to express outrage (all over again) at the fact that she has a gun in the house with Furry; which led all of my NRA -card- carrying-trigger-happy-gun-freak family members to begin all at once touting the virtues of handguns. At one point my dad asked, as an aside, what kind of gun Bojo had and without missing a beat in the general debate she answered in an equal aside that she had a 38 special.

Okay, I do not, have not and will not ever own a gun. I find it logically, morally and spiritually wrong for me. For one thing, I know enough about gun rules to know that you never shoot unless you aim to kill and I could never do that. At least I am not as idiotic as the stupid (mostly women) I have heard say they would shoot someone in the leg or even worse, fire a warning shot. Gads. Even pacifist me knows the only warning sound should be the cocking of the hammer and by then it's already all over.

Anyway, back to our Easter dinner.

As I was proclaiming the above my step-mom was asserting that they had guns in their home their whole lives and their kids never found or messed with them. ( I could have pointed out that those children also no longer speak to them, but it didn't seem entirely relevant to the topic.) This led to a convoluted discussion of just how cunning and capable children really are and my dad claiming that Furry could never reach, for example, the top of the china cabinet in Bojo's dining room. At that point I threw out a hundred dollar bet that he could and dad and I were just about to call the toddler in and send him scurrying up the built in bookshelves - or at least see just how far he could get. Thankfully (in hindsight) we got distracted within our heated debate because in response to "what would you do if someone broke in" I said, "I'd let them take whatever the hell they wanted because no material possession is worth a human life."

Here's where it gets really insane.

Dad invoked, not the constitution, but the Bible as authority on the matter and said (No shit, I couldn't make this stuff up) that Jesus said to protect your home and your possessions.

"With guns?!" I shrieked.

"Yes!" my dad asserted.

"You're telling me Jesus said to shoot people?!" I asked incredulously.

"Yes! It's in the Bible!" and here he quoted some scripture I have NEVER heard that involved Jesus whipping people. I kid you not. Then he told some other biblical story about Jesus having gone into a den of sinners - maybe gamblers - and driven them out with whips.

"But did he then steal their stuff? Or shoot them?!" I asked.

"Of course not," my dad said.

"So what does Jesus have to do with robbers and guns?!" I asked, my voice just as loud as everyone else, which was by now quite loud.

"They used to STONE PEOPLE," my dad said.

"JESUS?"I asked.

"Yes! They STONED and WHIPPED....."

At this point I heard my nephew, who is currently studying to be a minister crack up. He knows more about scripture than the entire rest of the family combined, but he had wisely chosen to avoid this whole conversation by watching basketball in the other room. That is, until our shouting drowned out the game.

Anyway, somehow we all calmed down and caught our breath, which gave me the perfect opportunity to step up on my Amish soap box and make a case for the admirable pacifist virtues, peaceful ways of the Amish and their respect for human life. At this point Bojo made her escape to her laptop to look at pictures of her latest internet pred...er, I mean boyfriend. My sister had been absent for some time by this point and was somewhere in the house injecting herself with insulin because she ate all the things she shouldn't eat... yet again. Furry was following Nigel wherever he went and looking at him with big ole moon pie eyes of idolation. My step-mom sort of half climbed over my dad in her attempt at escape. That left just me and my dad who promptly discounted my whole Amish lecture with, "Hell, they don't even have TVs in their homes!"

And the next thing you knew we were all in the living room eating pie and arguing about what brand of digital camera is the best while Furry ran around with his new Disney underwear on his head and chocolate all over his hands.

Before I left I made sure to hit up every single member of my family for a donation to the Autism foundation's fundraiser. Then I thanked them for all the candy and the donations; hugged Furry almost too tight and thanked Bojo for the wonderful meal. The last thing I saw before closing the door was Furry licking his spilled yoghurt off the floor and the beginnings of Bojo's freak out about the same.

*sigh*

Just another typical family holiday.

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Having limitations on your lifestyle is NOT the same as being poor.