It pains me tremendously to say this, but it needs to be said: I apologize to the state of California for referring to it as "The Land of Fruits and Nuts." I have used this label, derisively, for several years. It all started when I was sitting with a buddy of mine at a 24-hour Subway restaurant near UCLA, studying for an organic chemistry exam and stuffing my face with subs. A hippy-dippy type walked in and ordered a carton of milk. But she had the following stipulations: she had to be able to pick the carton, she had to be the one to pour the milk, and she was to be free to change her mind after she had made her selection of cartons if she wanted to. The poor Subway sandwich artist asked her why, and she replied that her psychic had told her that someone was going to poison her milk today. When the sandwich artist asked her why she would order milk if her psychic had warned her of it being poisoned, she became unruly, accused him of being out to kill her, and stormed out of the store. My buddy looked at me and said "Welcome to California, the Land of Fruits and Nuts."
I liked the description, and it seemed to fit the sun-fried mentality of California so well that I have repeated the slur many times over the years. But today, the nuttiness is no longer confined to the Golden State, but has spread throughout the entire country.
Exhibit A: The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, which has made a name for itself by protesting at the funeral of slain soldiers. Brandishing signs reading "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags and God hates you", these people are beneath contempt. They are equal-opportunity haters, as they picketed the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC,, referring to Jews as "the real Nazis." They also hate Roman Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, American Idol, and baseball. Just plain nutty.
Exhibit B: Eight Michigan militia members have been arrested and face charges of plotting to kill a police officer and then kill all the mourners (presumably heavily represented by law enforcement) who attended the funeral. Calling themselves "Christian warriors" they hoped to spark a revolution. The group made the following statement on their website: "Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword..." and "We, the Hutaree, are prepared to defend all those who belong to Christ and save those who aren't. We will still spread the word, and fight to keep it, up to the time of the great coming." Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, to be sure.
Exhibit C: Scott Roeder, who walked into a Kansas church during a time of worship and shot to death George Tiller, notorious late-term abortionist. Roeder said during the sentencing hearing that he was obeying God's law by murdering Tiller. He was rather vague on which of God's laws he was obeying. Out in the weeds.
"But, Fat Kid," many good and honest pro-lifers might protest, "Tiller was a murderer. A monster." Yes he was. He was also a child of God, loved by Him as much as you and I. "But if you had a chance to kill Hitler in his youth, wouldn't you do it to prevent the Holocaust? Tiller needed to be killed before he murdered any more babies." I have heard this "If you had the chance to kill Hitler, would you?" question many times. It's always about killing Hitler. Nobody ever asks "If you had the chance to change Hitler in his youth, would you?" Changing someone by persuasion and conversion is a lot harder than killing him, isn't it? One of the greatest murderers of Christians in the early days was Saul of Tarsus. He was in the killing business and business was good. If the early Christians has the chance to end his life, they would have prevented a lot of innocent blood from being spilled, wouldn't they? Perhaps, but they would have also prevented God from revealing himself to Saul, thus preventing him from changing his name to Paul, writing half of the New Testament, and spreading Christianity around the Roman Empire.
These people are all sincere in their beliefs and probably all think that they are following God's orders. But, in fact, they are not. None of them is. God's greatest Law was handed down in the Ten Commandments. The first five instruct us how to worship God, the second five tell us how to be kind to one another. None of them tell us how to reject, control, manipulate, or (worst of all) kill one another. The Michigan militia members call themselves the Hutaree, which we are told means "Christian warrior." They claim that Jesus wants us to take up swords to spread the gospel. Where they get this is a mystery, as Jesus commanded Peter to put down his sword when he attacked someone who came to arrest Jesus.
These people all claim to be Christian men and women. They all hold the Bible as the inspired and true Word of God. If they do, then they also believe that God is powerful - powerful enough to create an entire universe by speaking it into existence. Powerful enough that the brightest human minds - the geniuses like Newton and Einstein and Hawking - spend their entire lives in pursuit of understanding just a tiny fraction of one aspect of the knowledge that God possesses. God knows everything that every human has ever done, thought, dreamed, or desired. He doesn't need you to kill for him. He is not the destroyer of humanity. He is the creator of it.
Jesus gave us the entire essence of God's Law in two simple sentences: Love God with all your might, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. No guns. No swords. No killing. Especially no killing. The only blood that ever needed to be spilled in the name of Christianity was already spilled - willingly - by Jesus on Good Friday nearly two thousand years ago.