Retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin at a Capitol Hill news conference in July, 2013.

Retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin at a Capitol Hill news conference in July, 2013. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes file photo)

WASHINGTON — A former Army general believes that when Jesus returns, he’s gonna be packin’ heat.

Retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, now the Family Research Council’s executive vice president, says the Son of God will be armed with an AR-15 assault rifle when he returns, in a speech at the Pro-Family Legislators Conference in Dallas.

“[Jesus is] coming back as a warrior, carrying a sword,” Boykin said. “And I believe now, I’ve checked this out — I believe that sword he’ll be carryin’ when he comes back is an AR-15.”

Many in the audience laughed and some applauded, according to audio of the speech released Tuesday.

“Now I want you to think about this: Where did the 2nd Amendment come from? Where did the 2nd Amendment come from? I ask my students this; I ask men’s groups. I ask, ‘Where did the 21nd Amendment come from?’”

Boykin, in a somewhat comic voice, replied: “ ‘From the Founding Fathers! It’s in the Constitution!’

“Well, yeah, I know that. But where did the whole concept come from? It came from Jesus.”

The speech, made in November, was broadcast courtesy of Wallbuilders Live, whose mission, according to its site, is to “educate people of faith with an understanding of the role of faith in our Nation’s history.”

As an officer in the Army’s elite Delta Force, Boykin participated in many of the United States’ high-profile missions througout that 1980s and ’90s, including the failed rescue attempt of U.S. hostages in Iran and the apprehension of Manuel Noriega in Panama. He helped advise Attorney General Janet Reno regarding the stand-off at Waco, Texas, with the Branch Davidians.

His fundamentalist Christian views created some controversy when he cast the War on Terror in religious terms. He once remarked about a Somali warlord who said he would be protected by Allah: “I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.”

The remarks were widely denounced; senior members of the Senate urged then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to investigate, and the Bush White House distanced itself from the remarks.

According to the audio, Boykin continued: “When he said to his disciples, ‘Now, if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.’ I know, everybody says, well, that was a metaphor. It was not a metaphor!”

“[T]he sword today is the AR-15. If you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one; it’s biblical." Twitter: @StripesDCchief

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now