Review: The Righteous Gemstones, "For Out of the Heart Comes Evil Thoughts" | Season 3, Episode 6
Buy them off, beat them up, swap them out—the Gemstones have so many ways to bury their PR problems (and no intention of fixing them)
The Gemstones’ default problem-solving strategy is violence. We’ve seen murder, pitched battles, and preemptive strikes in every season. How can Christians, with their message of peace and love, promote and embrace violence? My students often tell me that this baffles them. Watching the entirety of The Righteous Gemstones would make for a long answer to their questions, but a very good one. Failing that, maybe they could just watch this episode for a précis, as BJ gets his second baptism—this one in blood.
One of the most powerful rationales for violence available to Christians is the morality of defense—defense of self, of course, but also of family and of the innocent. And this rationale bleeds over into other kinds of presumptive immorality, like lying or obstructing justice. That’s why those who hold power in churches overcome their qualms to do all kinds of objectively terrible things (covering up abuse, for example): the imperative is to defend the institution, whose re…