Last Sunday morning as I accompanied my senior pastor to the pulpit, he paused to comment about the news story that had just flashed on his newsfeed as we left the study. Pastor Ronald Harris Sr. of Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center near Lake Charles, LA had been murdered during a revival service Saturday night, and at the time we didn’t know why.
After the comments my pastor made last week about my views against gun control after the Navy Yard murders that he read in The Washington Post, and heard from others about me being on CNN, I just kept walking. I could tell that the murder of a pastor struck a chord with him.
Details are still coming out but according to reports, the pastor was murdered with a shotgun. He was shot twice by a former deacon whose wife had recently filed an allegation of rape against Harris. If you just let out a sigh, I heard that. Somehow we feel better when we can make sense of craziness. For me however, it’s not over.
I was the senior pastor of a church in Washington DC until I resigned in April of 2013 because they hated my advocacy of the right to keep and bear arms. After seven years of an unhealthy relationship there, I took my family out of that congregation to start a virtual church and worship where we are now, where I am “not in charge.” I knew after my next book, Black Man With A Gun: Reloaded comes out in a few months, and I continued to fight for the freedom of others, it was only going to get worse.
From my viewpoint as a church leader in troubled neighborhoods, pastors should be armed. We usually have smaller congregations where we can’t afford armed security, nor do we have members of the local police department that we can expect to be to be armed in the congregation.
As pastors, we are called to be shepherds.
Shepherds need to protect themselves and the flock from predators. In these neighborhoods are armed robbers, rapist, arsonist, gangs and those that know where members will be at a certain time and place worshiping God. It is biblical to wear a sword when rebuilding the wall. It is biblical to wear a sword when evangelizing.
I’ll be talking about this more candidly on the 342nd episode of the Black Man With A Gun Show.
For believers in Christ, many have confused concepts of pacifism, Gandhi’s non-violence doctrine, and murder. Gun ownership does not equate with a will to murder. I am not confused. I have spent the better part of twenty years persecuted by clergy and elders in the traditional African American church for my belief in freedom and the Second Amendment.
Having a gun wouldn’t have saved Pastor Harris from being murdered in this case. His issue was one of character if he was guilty of the crime of rape or adultery. I am not his judge. I am praying for his family, the survivors and the church at this heinous loss of life, and the damage done to all. Too many continue to misunderstand that God judges the heart, and not what you carry.
If you can carry a firearm legally in your church, you should. Even lambs have teeth.