Chatting Up Christian Gun Owners ‘The Benham Bros.’
Much has been sermonized about the incivility of modern American discourse: We’re too polarized, too entrenched in our own viewpoints. If we spent less time ranting and more time actually listening to our ideological opponents, this might be a less hatey, less shooty place to live. And heck, (say it with me now) we “might even discover that we’re not as different as we think.”
So this week I reached out to a pair of Jesus-preaching, evolution-denying, gun-owning abortion opponents to see if we could find common ground. And guess what? We’re precisely as different as we think.
My interviewees were David and Jason Benham, identical twins and former pro Minor League Baseball players turned motivational Christian speakers, authors, and entrepreneurs. They’ll tell their life story at The Granada Theatre on Thursday, April 26, at a show sponsored by Network Medical Women’s Center in Goleta, a “women’s health clinic” that doesn’t offer birth control and won’t provide STD testing or treatment unless you’re pregnant.
The Benham brothers live in North Carolina with their wives, Lori and Tori (swear to god), and have nine homeschooled kids between them. They pen articles for WorldNetDaily accusing today’s schools of “sowing seeds of sexual confusion” into our kids and posted a Facebook video last year saying Hurricane Irma was the result of Americans breaching God’s moral boundaries.
I believe their worldview is largely bonkers and trust they’d say the same of mine. But I give props to them for hashing it out with a self-proclaimed liberal, pro-choice, atheist feminist — and I respect some of what they said. For example, when I confessed my “snowflake” horror at a photo one of them tweeted of his young kids shooting an animal, the brothers (who responded via email in a weird unified voice, declining to state which one was typing) said, “It’s easy to go to the grocery store and buy meat — much of which is filled with hormones and steroids. We choose to eat organic and teach our kids to use God’s natural resources for sustenance.” That’s almost California hippie stuff right there.
I asked what would happen if one of their kids said he or she was gay — or a Democrat. “We treat them the same way Christ treats us,” they said, “by lovingly showing us the way and letting us choose His path or our own.” That’s it? No fire? No brimstone? And when I asked if they defy any stereotypes that Left Coast libtards might lump them into, they impressed me: “We believe the institutional Christian church is much of the problem in America today. At one time Churches used to build hospitals, community centers, and provide other tangible support for our communities. But today we build big Churches, investing more in ourselves than the community. This has to change, and we are helping to facilitate that as best we can while helping other leaders do the same.”
But our rapport ripped apart around a blog post the Benhams wrote blaming “drug abuse, illicit sex and school shootings” on the Supreme Court’s elimination of prayer from schools and removal of the Ten Commandments from classroom walls. “Are you kidding me with that?” I asked them. “Do you sincerely believe it’s just that simple?”
“Moral absolutes are anchors of the soul,” they replied. “Are you kidding me that removing these won’t result in moral decay?”
All kidding aside, I asked why Christians are always pushing their faith on the rest of us — and their response so confounded me I wondered if we had switched to a different language: “There is no one without sin, especially us. The good news is that Christ died for our sins to set us free. We’ve experienced His forgiveness and have been changed by His love — and we can’t keep it in.”
If you want to watch them let it out, tickets to the Granada event are free. I’ll be at home, entrenched in my viewpoints.