Chaplain Loses Job After Suggesting ‘Selma’ More Christian Than ‘American Sniper’

American Christians are a strange breed – they love their guns almost as much as they love their God, so when a religious leader dared to suggest a movie like “Selma” demonstrated the teachings of Jesus in a better way than “American Sniper” tempers flared.

MidAmerica Nazarene University’s chaplain Randy Beckum tried to make a point about the violent nature of today’s American culture by comparing the two Oscar-nominated movies. He noticed that while “Selma” was a film where the non-violent teachings of Jesus Christ were put to use by Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders in a powerful demonstration of love and compassion, American Christians seemed to be flocking instead to “American Sniper” – a movie about the soldier who had the most confirmed sniper kills in U.S. military history.

“As you know two movies came out recently. Selma, the story of one of the 20th century most influential Christian leaders, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who led a non-violent movement that changed the course of American History forever. And American Sniper, the story of the most deadly Navy SEAL sniper in American history. Selma has made 29-30 million so far. American Sniper made over 103 million in the first 4 days. Gives you an idea about who our heroes are. I don’t think it is an under-statement to say that our culture is addicted to violence, guns, war, revenge and retaliation. Unfortunately, so are a lot of Christians.”

And like addiction of any nature, the addicts themselves didn’t take the reality check well. According to witnesses, people in the audience began balking at the suggestion, some may have even walked out.

Beckum concluded that, ““We have to be very careful about equating Christianity with patriotism.” The idea – that Christianity and America are basically two sides of the same coin – is, of course, deeply popular among conservative Americans. When Fox News host Sean Hannity claims that America is “the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the earth,” his viewers take that as the literal truth. Beckum trampled on that assumption, and with the utmost cruelty even used the actual words of the Bible to do it. How rude.

Students and worshipers gathered their torches and pitchforks and almost instantly Beckum was sacked. He lost his job as vice president of the university’s Community Foundation. According to the university, he will be allowed to stay on as chaplain if he wishes.

According to defenders of the university, Beckum “wanted” the demotion, however his own family denies that idea. Many around campus seem to also believe Beckum was “punished” specifically for his “American Sniper”-bashing sermon.

According to the Kansas City Star:

“I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt that this was not an intentional attack on free expression,” said Blake Nelson, a resident educator at the university who recently penned a widely read online letter in support of Beckum. “I can’t judge motives or intentions; all I know is that it was an attack on free expression.

“You can’t publicly demote a leader in the denomination and a leader at the university and not expect 100 percent of your constituents to put one and one together.”

It’s unfortunate because at his essence, Beckum is right. The civil rights movement held lots of inspiring men and women who used their faith as support during the struggle. If Christians are looking for people in the real world who applied the most compassionate teachings of Jesus into their lives, then a movie like “Selma” might hold some great lessons. Instead, America’s Christians responded more to a war movie. Then they got a man fired for even pointing out how bizarre that is.

Yes, America’s Christians are indeed a strange breed.


h/t Alternet | Feature image via