Those of us who have been darkening the doors of churches for years, and perhaps even decades, are apt to notice a strange phenomenon in this era of global Christian persecution. No longer is the church sanctuary an escape from a troubled world but rather a worrisome reflection of what is going on outside of it.
Some of us may feel trapped or even experience a stab of fear when we cross the threshold into our places of worship. People being gunned down in churches is nothing new of course, but one must wonder if the bloodshed in Sri Lanka is representative of something so broad and deep that it has entered the psyche of the average church-goer?
Sunday’s synagogue shooting in San Diego surely must bring similar feelings to the surface for our Jewish friends.
Don’t forget the kids, the Bible, and your Glock.
It was a jarring experience to wheel and walk our kids with disabilities past this officer. And it ushered in a whole host of emotions: heartbreak that the violence of this world had inserted its way into a time and space where God, not safety, should be first in our spirit. Sorrow that members of our faith are on the hit list of so many. And a trickle of trepidation that behind the door to Sunday School classroom 102 might be someone with murder in their heart and the means with which to carry it out.
With all of these emotions springing forth, the mindset of joy, peace, and grace that you might expect to have in a place of worship is rudely interrupted and replaced with an urgent desire for self-protection and security. And then you remember, “I’m not permitted to carry my firearm in this state or county.” If all this hasn’t occurred to you, rest assured it has crossed the minds of church authorities.
Elders, vestries, and church boards of trustees all over America are hiring security guards or paying for local police to patrol the halls, parking lots and sanctuaries of their churches. Some smaller congregations who can’t afford such luxuries are calling on members with concealed carry permits to lock and load before heading off to worship.
When I was recently serving as a women’s retreat leader in a southern church, the pastor lifted his shirt just high enough to reveal his Heckler and Koch 9mm handgun. “I never preach without it,” he asserted. He went on to say that he has enlisted seven congregants who are trained in the use of firearms to carry, as well.
Is it so outlandish to entertain the thought that Mary – who’s played the organ for lo’ these last 30 years – has a J-frame Smith & Wesson (.38 special) revolver hidden below one of the pedals?
One might rightly hope she does.
“Honey, Where’s My Glock”
Running late for the 9 a.m. service? Don’t forget the kids, the Bible, and your Glock. It seems odd to say or write this – on the other hand, something is comforting about it. But there is a myriad of gun laws prohibiting ordinary people from packing heat at church. America’s innumerable firearm regulations have turned the average gun savvy church-goer into an outlaw. This is not only unconstitutional but an obscene abuse of power, and counter-productive for those who wish to defend themselves.
We have reached the stage where the do-gooders – who can’t seem to keep their hands off our firearms – should be considered complicit in the deaths of worshipping Christians. How so? Because they are prohibiting the average American citizen from protecting his or her family, or the students in their charge during Sunday school. Someday – in the not too distant future – someone is going to bring a lawsuit against the municipality that has made firearms taboo in places where they are needed. Ok, that’s not likely to fly but Liberty Nation’s Legal Affairs Editor, Scott D. Cosenza does posit:
“The federal government might put pressure on the states to liberalize their gun carry laws in and around their places of worship. It seems undisputed these facilities are especially attractive targets. Requiring states to allow reasonable self-defense measures may now be part of ensuring they respect the fundamental right to worship.”
Those who attend large churches are at immense risk, as many of America’s mega-churches make facilities like Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School look like a bandbox. Like it or not, our firearms have become an important part of the worship experience in the 21st century. If radicals are going to take aim at our places of worship, it would be in our best interest to be armed and dangerous. If the goal is to kill and maim as many Christians as possible in one fell swoop, then we must prepare for such an encounter.
Making it illegal for American citizens to carry their firearm wherever and whenever they might need it for protection is, well, downright criminal.
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