Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Gun-Loving Church?


No, we didn't celebrate the American love affair with a blessing of guns or a raffle to give away a hand gun in church today. I expect that is true of most congregations across the nation, but at least church in Louisville, Kentucky did have such a service. Apparently Kentucky has one of the most liberal gun laws in the nation -- you don't need permits to buy guns, whether a rifle for hunting or to buy a handgun -- though you apparently need one to carry it on you. Guns are banned in bars, schools, or jails, but not in churches. It seems that no one anticipated that people would bring guns to church. I sure wouldn't have thought this would happen!

America has long had a love affair with guns. We love our Westerns, where everyone has a gun strapped around his waist (women might carry one, but generally they concealed a small gun in a hand bag). Clint Eastwood's The Pale Rider features a a gun slinging preacher -- though when he must kill to protect his friends, he trades his collar for a gun.

The Second Amendment does protect gun ownership -- though the meaning of "a well regulated militia" has long been debated. The NRA, which sees itself as the protector of every one's right to bear arms seems to think that any regulation is too much regulation -- so they even oppose bans on assault rifles. Now, I don't know about you, but unless you're intending to kill people, assault rifles have little use.

So, I must admit that I do find it a bit odd that a church would celebrate gun ownership during a worship service. I'm not sure why the pastor decided to do this -- though maybe he thought this would be a great evangelistic effort. Bring a friend and a gun Sunday -- what a thought.

According to the article in the Guardian (a British paper)

Ken Pagano, who packs a pistol of his own, wants his parishioners to openly wear their firearms at the New Bethel Church in Louisville to mark the 4 July Independence anniversary and celebrate the part guns played in the making of the nation.

The unusual service has brought a mixed reaction, welcomed by many gun owners but widely derided elsewhere with fellow pastors and victims of gun crime questioning whether it is appropriate to carry weapons in a church.

I guess I'm part of that group of pastors that finds this rather inappropriate. I wonder how it fits with Jesus' message to love your neighbor, to turn the other cheek, and be a peacemaker. Is America's love affair with the gun something we should celebrate or not?

As for my church, as a pastor, we'll refrain from such events!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't mind guns. It's the bullets that kill me.

David Mc

John said...

I can't imagine how openly displaying in a house of worship, "my Father's House," an object designed and carried for the purpose of interpersonal violence can be consistent with the message of Jesus Christ or with any subpart of Jesus message.

Those who carry handguns cannot be any more acceptable than money changers.

John

Anonymous said...

I don't really have that much of a problem with guns themselves. I view a gun as a tool. They do make sense in rural towns, farms, etc. Do you need one in downtown New York.. thats a stretch.

As for bringing them to church.. using the tool verbage.. would you show off your shovel at church? Do you put your child in one hand and a pick axe in the other? Its showmanship and bravado to bring a gun to church. Of course would I allow a police officer to bring a gun into church.. of course. Its a tool he uses while at work. Assuming he is in uniform and "working" it MAY make sense. I would hope there is rational judgment used. Say the president went to church, you would assume there would be men in the church with guns and it would still be consistent with Christ's teaching. That is just my quick thoughts... but to Bob's point. I think in the situation described its rather foolish and makes no sense.

Chuck

Anonymous said...

I know a church that'll bless your pit bull. Hey, Arizona might get guns in bars I see in the news.

David Mc

Big Gay Al said...

First, let's get the press terminology corrected. The ban that most liberal weenies are after is for the NON-existent "assault weapon." Not the assault rifle. Those are already under very strict control. Assault rifles are capable of both full and semi-automatic fire. "Assault Weapons" are usually civilian versions of military assault rifles that are capable of semi-auto fire ONLY. Many hunting rifles are semi-auto only firearms.

Second, I find it interesting, everyone can recall the shootings in churches where people were killed. But, NO ONE brings up the shooting that occurred in a church that was stopped by a "volunteer guard." A church member with a CCW permit who volunteered to help protect the church, and did so very well. Perhaps, if some of these other churches had a similar program, maybe only the bad guy would be dead.

Third, did anyone know it used to be required in some states that church goers bring their guns to church, in case of Indian attack? Considering the violence that's occurring in our churches and schools today, seems to me we have a different type of "Indian," or perhaps a new outlaw to defend against.