1 Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.
2 He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples[a] under me.
–Psalm 144, Verses 1-2
A maintenance worker at a Florida church pulled a weapon and began shooting at the members of the church committee that was convened to terminate him, forcing the pastor of the church to pull his own weapon and return fire, wounding the attacker in what authorities consider a clear case of self-defense:
Deputies said an Osceola County church employee has been charged after he opened fire on a pastor, who then pulled out his own gun and shot the employee.
The exchange of gunfire happened at the Living Water Fellowship Church on Pleasant Hill Road around 8 a.m.
According to investigators, a meeting was taking place to terminate the employment of maintenance worker Benjamin Parangan, Jr. Deputies said Parangan, 47, pulled out a gun and fired several shots at Pastor Terry Howell.
Howell was not injured, but he returned fire with his own gun, striking Parangan. Parangan was taken to Osceola Regional Medical Center, where he is in stable condition.
Parangan has been charged with aggravated assault with intent to kill and will be taken to jail once he is released from the hospital. It is also worth noting that Living Water has a child care program on site, and that by accurately shooting Parangan and keeping him from firing any more shots, Pastor Howell reduced the threat to children and child care providers on site.
Protestant, Catholic and Jewish faiths all recognize that murder (unlawful killing of the innocent and the just) is to be avoided, but all recognize a right to both individual self-defense, defense of others, and defense of cultures and societies (“jus bellum iustum,” or just war theory).
Historically speaking, churches and other religious institutions have often been the targets of common criminals and mass killers both worldwide and in the United States, as have been their pastoral staff. Different denominations have differing views on firearms, and these policies can vary down to individual parishes or congregations.