Skip to content

Moloch and the 2nd Amendment

Earlier this week over in Pickens County, two inmates escaped from the Pickens County Prison. The prisoners, Timothy Cleveland Dill and Bruce Webb McLaughlin, Jr., assaulted two guards around 2:40 am and climbed the fence. Then the two separated into a sequel of Dumb and Dumber.

Dill ran down Concord Church Road straight into deputies responding to the call from the Prison. He was captured without incident. Meanwhile, McLaughlin took a more dangerous route. He kicked in the door of a random house. Inside was a woman, asleep and alone at least until she heard the door crash open. She then proceeded to shoot McLaughlin in the head and permanently end his criminal career. She possesses a CWP even though she did not need it to defend herself in her own home. More importantly she had a handgun and the skills to use it. Her ability to successfully defend herself comes from the freedom guaranteed by the 2ndAmendment.

I recently read A History of Gun Violence, a special issue published by Lapham’s Quarterly. The issue started with an article about Cody Wilson and his 3-D printed guns and ends with Garry Wills’ “Religion of Slaughter”. In between are articles about guns and gun violence written from the year 1499 through current times.

Lapham’s Quarterly does an excellent job in taking a subject such as guns and then compiling essays or snippets of literature or art from the last several hundred years that discuss the subject. This issue contains the words of a large diverse group of writers including William F. Cody, Annie Oakley, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Stephen King, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson, Carl Von Clausewitz and others that I never would have guessed wrote about guns. Most of the articles were technical discussions of gun design over time, regulated militias, armed rebellions or the impact gun-fueled violence has upon society.

Missing from the publication was a story like the Pickens County Prison break – a story of individual self-defense. Gun control advocates tell us that random acts of successful self-defense are not a substitute for comprehensive gun control. They do not suggest how the lone sleeping woman should have defended herself without her gun. In her case, gun control would have taken her gun but would have done nothing to stop her gunless assailant.

The left always talks about the crazy far right. Leftist publications like Lapham’s Quarterly enjoy acting as the voice of reason that stands against the far right. In this issue, Lapham’s logically arranges a series of articles that leads the reader to conclude (if he’s not paying close attention) that individual gun ownership is not really good for us. The reasonable tone flows until the last article where we catch a glimpse of the crazy left.

In his 2012 article Religion of Slaughter (reprinted as the last essay in Lapham’s special issue), Garry Wills compares gun owners to worshippers of Moloch. If you cannot remember your Baptist Training Union classes on Sunday nights, Moloch was the Old Testament god that demanded child sacrifices. Wills engages in much crazy talk but ends his article with this: Molochism is the one religion that can never be separated from the state. The state itself bows down to Moloch and protects the sacrifices made to him. So let us celebrate the falling bodies and rising statues as a demonstration of our fealty, our bondage, to the great god Gun.

What a strange essay for Lapham’s to use as their finale – to label 2nd Amendment supporters as worshippers of an ancient idol. Wills did not even choose the correct idol. Moloch was a fire god of the Ammonites who worshiped him through child sacrifice and sexual deviancy. The Book of Leviticus warns us about Moloch in detail and strongly advises us to stay away from him or risk the penalty of death.

Applying ancient idols to modern political issues can be tricky. If I were throwing Moloch around as a legitimate political identifier, he would stick closer to leftists with their lockstep support of abortion than to conservatives who try to keep the children from their fire.