In the wake of any horrific event, the natural inclination is to say, “How can we prevent this?” This is how we ended up with the Brady Bill and countless other laws, and it’s why we’re currently having to deal with states trying to ban bump stocks. I think it’s normal, though, to want to prevent such an event from happening again.
With Sutherland Springs, however, we’re seeing something far more productive. We’re seeing more and more churches calling for an armed congregation.
Now, there’s another one.
When the parishioners at one Oswego County church gather for worship each week, many of them are armed. And it’s no secret. The Lighthouse Mexico Church of God even advertises that its not a gun-free zone – a response to the frequent mass shootings in the country that’s the subject of some debate.
Walking into the church on a Sunday morning is more like joining a family reunion than attending a service. Music plays for the first half as the parishioners move about the church greeting one another and joining in community prayers. The pastor Ron Russell says his church is like a family, and it’s his responsibility to ensure their safety.
“Pastors are commissioned by God – I believe by God – to protect their sheep,” Russell said.
Russell cares for his flock with a loaded gun, as do several members of his congregation.
“Even when you walked in you had no knowledge, and I’m not going to identify who the young ladies were, but they had you pegged,” Russell said. “And they said, ‘He’s either a reporter or he’s a stranger with a bag and we’re going to watch him.’ They were all armed.”
There are some who will read this account and think it’s just horrible, but it’s not. Not at all.
Being armed and being able to do the Lord’s work aren’t mutually exclusive by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s pretty natural when you think about it. The idea of selflessly putting yourself in the line of fire so others might survive? How is that incongruous with the Lord’s message?
Yes, it’s sad that we have to take steps like this in churches, but it’s also sad that taking steps like this in churches is somehow controversial or even newsworthy. Sutherland Springs wasn’t the first church shooting by any stretch. It was just the latest in a long line of them.
As a response, churches are tired of being targets. Who can really blame them?
While gun grabbers would like to pretend that laws will somehow make the problem go away, there’s no evidence of that having happened anywhere in the history of mankind. Ever.
That means violence needs to be met with righteous violence. The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, and that’s been shown to be the case time and time again, including Sutherland Springs.
The idea of church congregations arming up doesn’t bother me. The idea that this is somehow wrong? That bothers me.