When Scott Faulkner dropped his brother Gary off at Denver International Airport to fly to Pakistan, he wasn't sure he'd see him again. He knew Gary was planning to try to find Osama bin Laden and perhaps kill him.
"I knew he was doing the Lord's work," Scott told me. "I truly felt he had a calling. I could feel that anointing."
But he also said, "I believe the Lord arrested Gary. . . . I'm sure the Lord is going to use it in His way." Pakistani police arrested Gary Faulkner on June 14 in a forest near the border of Afghanistan, where bin Laden has been rumored to be hiding. Gary was carrying a knife, a sword, a pistol, night goggles, and a Bible.
As we talked on the phone Monday, Scott received word from the U.S. State Department that his brother would be released soon. He said the Pakistani government has treated Gary well (he has a kidney disease that requires dialysis). Scott said his brother has lived with him at his apartment in Colorado and has little contact with anyone else in his family.
Gary Faulkner spent several years in jail in the 1980s and '90s for theft and domestic violence, but was "convicted by the Holy Spirit" 15 years ago in prison, according to Scott. He said Gary doesn't attend any church, but he sometimes goes with Scott to his Pentecostal church, part of the Foursquare denomination. Gary would disappear for a couple weeks into the Rockies for spiritual renewal, Scott added.
Gary has undertaken other vigilante adventures-Terri Faulkner, a former sister-in-law, told the New York Post that he worked at a meatpacking plant in Colorado in the 1980s. When she mentioned to him that Mexican employees were disappearing at the plant, he thought they might be putting them in the meat.
"So one night on his day off, he dressed up like Rambo and jumped the fence to investigate," Terri told the Post. "Of course, he got arrested for that because they found him with a big knife in his pocket. But these were guys he worked with that he loved."
"He considers himself a modern Nehemiah," Scott Faulkner said. In the Old Testament, Nehemiah helped rebuild Jerusalem after Babylon destroyed the city in 586 B.C. and exiled the Jews.
Scott said his brother took up the mission to find bin Laden after 9/11, when he saw one of the al-Qaeda leader's taped messages that "mocked the God of the Bible." Gary Faulkner traveled to Pakistan six times before this last trip when he was arrested, his brother said. The U.S. government has offered a $25 million bounty for bin Laden's capture, dead or alive.
When I asked Scott whether Christians should respond to a mockery of their faith with violence, he responded, "The entire Old Testament shows when God is angry, He exacts justice. He will arise a man or nation to do his bidding. . . . He will use anything at His disposal."
But Scott was conflicted about how to support Gary. He said he prayed and prayed that his brother wouldn't get a visa to Pakistan this time. When Gary did, Scott said, "Lord, this is ordained." Scott added that he doesn't think other Christians should necessarily take up the same mission: "They need to pray about it. I don't want people going off half-cocked to Pakistan, saying that's my holy war."