A Kentucky pastor is inviting his flock to bring guns to church to celebrate the Fourth of July and the Second Amendment.
New Bethel Church is welcoming “responsible handgun owners” to wear their firearms inside the church June 27, a Saturday. An ad says there will be a handgun raffle, patriotic music and information on gun safety.
“We’re just going to celebrate the upcoming theme of the birth of our nation,” said pastor Ken Pagano. “And we’re not ashamed to say that there was a strong belief in God and firearms — without that this country wouldn’t be here.”
The guns must be unloaded, which sort of defeats the purpose. But Murdoc notes that a gun with no mag and a loaded magazine is an “unloaded gun.”
Predictably, not everyone is thrilled with the idea:
John Phillips, an Arkansas pastor who was shot twice while leading a service at his former church in 1986, said a house of worship is no place for firearms.
“A church is designated as a safe haven, it’s a place of worship,” said Phillips, who was shot by a church member’s relative for an unknown reason and still has a bullet lodged in his spine. “It is unconscionable to me to think that a church would be a place that you would even want to bring a weapon.”
Two words: Colorado Springs.
Rev. Phillips has an opinion based at least in part on his own personal experiences. Parishioners of New Life Church in “The Springs” probably have their own opinions about the issue based at least in part upon their own experiences.
The idea that police are the “only ones” who can be entrusted with loaded firearms should be offensive to everyone who believes in the right of the people to keep and bear arms. And while I get the symbolism and perception Pastor Pagano is trying to convey, I challenge the notion that encouraging deference to and reliance on official elitism–along with actual defenselessness– is an effective or desirable way to “promote responsible gun ownership and gun safety.”