How Should Christians Respond to Groups Like Antifa and Proud Boys

Here are three ways Christians can respond to the threat posed by extremist groups on both the right and left.

First, Christians are called to love our enemies and pray for those who would persecute us (Matt. 5:44). Those associated with both Antifa and alt-right often consider orthodox Christians to their enemy. They may seek persecute us directly because of our skin color or because they consider our faith-based views a political threat. Whatever their reasons, we have a duty to love and pray for them. We should pray in particular that they will renounce violence and come to know Jesus, so they will discover the only true peace and freedom is to be found in Christ.

Second, while Christians may share Antifa’s opposition to white nationalism or share the Proud Boys’ disdain for rioters who threaten peace and order, we must not share either group’s use of violence as “preemptive self-defense.” Christians sometimes disagree on when, if ever, the use of force in self-defense is biblically permissible. But no Christian should adopt the view that it is an act of self-defense to preemptively use violence to shut down speech merely because we find the content to be repugnant. Nor it is a legitimate use of self-defense to physically attack people who are participating in a peaceful public assembly, however reprehensible their cause.

Third, Christians should oppose giving radical extremists on both the left and right a heckler’s veto. This occurs when an individual’s right to speak or assemble is curtailed or restricted by the government in order to prevent a reacting party’s behavior.

The government has an obligation to protect the constitutional rights of all citizens, even those with unpopular views. We should not tolerate the government giving groups like Antifa or Proud Boys a heckler’s veto, for we may soon find they use it to prevent Christians from exercising our rights to share the gospel.

Joe Carter

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

One thought on “How Should Christians Respond to Groups Like Antifa and Proud Boys

  1. I will say this of the Proud Boys. Contrary to popular opinion, they aren’t actually white supremacists. Nor have I ever seen or heard anything anti-Christian from them. Do note that their leader is afro-Cuban, their ranks are multiethnic, and their official policy is anti-racist. I have also noted that any violence from their direction tends to be defensive in nature. Virtually every video I have seen involving them has been on the defensive when facing off with AntiFa. They simply form ranks and wait to see what their opposition does.

    As for justification, I look at it this way. If the police are unable or unwilling to do something about people like AntiFa and BLM getting violent, someone has to do something. Speaking as a National Guardsman, I can tell you that we are very limited in what we can do. Federal law forbids the use of troops in a law enforcement capacity. For example, in Ferguson, the Guardsmen on the ground were assisting law enforcement with the detention of protesters, but were not allowed to make actual arrests. Most of them were Military Police. Without law enforcement cooperation, our hands are tied.

    This is where militia groups come into play. According to federal law, the unorganized militia consists of all able-bodied males between the ages of 17 and 45 whom are not already serving in the armed forces, and all female members of the National Guard. In situations like this, civilian militia groups will have a bit more leeway than law enforcement or the Guard. Several states even have their own militias, known as State Guards, for the purpose of serving as an auxiliary to the National Guard.

    Finally, as regards biblical justification, I’ve studied this matter and come to the conclusion that defensive action for the purpose of preserving life is permitted. Even Jesus upheld this principle, especially when you consider that He is God in the flesh. He was there when the world was flooded, Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed, etc. He also commanded His followers to acquire weapons. Pacifism in the face of unwarranted violence is irrational and immoral.

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