A Hagiography of St. Kyle

The phrase “St. Kyle” is ironic. I don’t know if Kyle is or will be a Saint. I find icons of him just as “cringe” as icons of Bernie.

My position with regard to his legal standing is this: I was on Twitter the nights of the Kenosha riots. I saw the videos of the events minutes or hours after they happened. I thought at the time it was clear-cut self-defense. But even if there is some fact that has surfaced in the last months that makes Rittenhouse legally culpable for some infraction, which was presented at the trial, I still hold to “Innocent until Proven Guilty,” and therefore hold the jury adjudicated rightly.

I was not there for the riot. Neither was I there for the trial. God will judge all things correctly on the Last Day. My judgment is nothing.

So. If my position is so cold, to a man beloved to so many on my side, then why have I chosen the title “A Hagiography of St. Kyle”?

Many who are on or near my side have been criticizing Rittenhouse as follows: “He should’t have even been there.”

He lived there part time. His father and grandmother lived there. He worked there. It was as much his home as his mother’s house 25 miles away.

Now, for those who say he was “looking for trouble,” I have scorn. The Scriptures instruct us not to slander a man. He says he was there to render aid and not to fight, and his actions are the actions of a man who was there to render aid and not to fight. To go beyond his word in assessing his motivation is to break the 8th Commandment. Shame on you. Repent in dust and ashes.

For those who say he was a child, he should have stayed away from riots, in fact, everyone in that town should have fled for the hills, let alone people who legitimately had a hearth in another town, I will be more gentle.

Standing up for your neighbor when the authorities have abandoned you is the American way.

The Struggle of the American Christian

But is the American way the Christian way?

Romans 13 tells us to be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God. It was written under a tyrant no less opposed to Christ than our current regime.

Nevertheless, when Peter disobeyed the Sanhedrin, he said, “We must obey God rather than men.” And the church has long recognized this line as authoritative, even though it is descriptive and Romans 13 is prescriptive. If Caesar tells you to go to jail, you go to jail. If Caesar tells you to murder an innocent, you refuse. If Caesar tells you to deny Christ, you deny Caesar instead.

This is the Christian way.

David is commended, in part, because Saul was delivered into his hand, and knowing that he, too, was anointed to be king, yet he did not strike down the Lord’s anointed.

But the American way is that if a tyrant gives you an illegal command, you ignore him. If he presses the matter, you shoot him.

Well, I am American. But my primary citizenship is the Kingdom of Heaven. If my culture commands one thing and my religion another, I must choose my religion. Simple, right?

But here’s the rub: the Americans have made the American way the law of the land.

Lex Rex or Not?

The Second Amendment exists not for hunting nor for self-defense, but precisely so Americans can shoot illegitimate governing authorities. The assumption of the Constitution is that any law written by Congress, any order given by the President or by any Judge, if it violates the Constitutions, will be ignored or set aside by the other branches of government and by the American People. And Sheriffs and Congressmen and Judges and Military Men are sworn to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign or domestic.

The Militia mentioned in the Second Amendment is intended to be every able-bodied male at or above the age of (if I recall correctly) 17. In modern English, the amendment might read: “We are not free unless every 17 year-old boy is well-armed and well-trained. Therefore the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

This is part of America’s heritage, it’s culture and its laws. The Saxon is called a Saxon because he is unclothed without his short-sword, his saex.

Now, in practice, this is not reality any more. If you fail to send in your income taxes because it is unconstitutional, you may find yourself accidentally shot by federal marshals. Every 17-year-old boy isn’t well armed and well trained.

Fourscore and seven years after the republic was founded, we decided it wasn’t even a republic, but an empire.

But, part of America’s heritage is that every man is a lesser magistrate. Part of his duty is to protect his neighbor not only from hunger and robbery, but even from the authorities above him. The sheriff, the congressman, the president.

And sometimes, the judges still rule that way. Sometimes, when a church remains open after a state orders it closed, the courts say, “no, the church was in the right.”

After all, those who violate the Constitution above us do so under an authority they are granted by an oath to defend the Constitution.

And, of course, the whole moral of Nuremburg is that our current pluto-theocracy has publicly said that you must not do evil even if given a lawful order to do so.

Where do I come down on this?

The argument I have presented is not a slam-dunk case.

In American jurisprudence, the Constitution is neither wholly dead nor wholly alive.

The Romans 13 text is talking about people, not laws. But our hierarchy of people swears fealty to the laws and even sometimes upholds them.

And in 2020 and 2021, this churning pot of acid has been boiling in the gut of every American Christian who was not already long since wholly convinced of one side or the other.

I know men who believe they have a duty to obey the tyrant’s every command, so long as he does not command apostasy.

My church is full of Germans. Germans have a long history of loving authority.

I know men who believe they have a duty to resist even tiny tyrannies, for such is our duty as citizens.

My family is full of Anglo-Americans. We don’t cotton to authority when it’s just, let alone when it’s plainly not.

My council is Conscience and Grace. Let every man study the Scriptures and be convinced. Let no man violate his conscience.

And when you see Christians going the other way, whether it be submitting to tyrants or resisting them, my council is to understand this is a hard call, and we all have to stand alone before Christ and account for ourselves.

And the good account is not “I submitted,” nor “I resisted,” but, “Christ have mercy on me, a sinner!”

Likewise, I commend Kyle Rittenhouse to your grace, even if you think that towns should lie down and let the current tyrannies roll over them.

But as for me

But I do not think this.

I have decided for the sake of my neighbor, I cannot follow Romans 13 in a manner inconsistent with American culture and governance, even though I’m living and going to church with a bunch of German immigrants who don’t understand the systems they inherited from my ancestors.

God help me.

God help us all.

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