The idea of guns in churches doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. After all, churches are places of peace and, as such, there’s no place for firearms within the confines of a house of worship.
As a Christian (though, admittedly, a pretty bad one), I’d love for that to be true. I’d love to know that when I attend services on Sunday morning that I’ll not have to worry about a thing involving the world outside.
Unfortunately, in addition to being a Christian, I’m also a realist.
It seems that some religious leaders aren’t.
The Rt. Rev. Deon Johnson, bishop of the Diocese of Missouri, joined other religious leaders in the St. Louis area in denouncing a bill in the state legislature that would allow people to carry concealed guns into places of worship without asking permission.
Johnson was one of eight spiritual leaders representing Christian, Jewish and ethical humanist groups who spoke at a press conference organized by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis on April 28 to oppose Missouri House Bill 944.
“It’s a sad honor to be standing here with these religious leaders, opposing a bill that probably should not have seen the light of day,” Johnson said at the press conference, arguing that “guns have no place in places of worship.”
The bill is a Republican-sponsored effort to remove restrictions on carrying guns in public. Currently, Missouri law requires citizens to get the permission of the supervising clergy before bringing a gun into a house of worship. HB 944 would remove that requirement, allowing anyone with a concealed carry weapons permit to bring a gun into a church, synagogue or mosque without seeking permission. Religious institutions that do not want guns on the property would have to post signs saying they are not allowed on the premises.
“We should not have to do this,” said Roman Catholic Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski, who convened the press conference and said legislators should have consulted religious leaders before proposing the bill. “Please keep our places of worship free from these tools of violence and any signs of it.”
In a perfect world, that wouldn’t be a big deal. You wouldn’t need guns in churches.
However, we don’t have a perfect world. We have this one. This one has maniacs who look at churches as a target-rich environment. Have they already forgotten Sutherland Springs, where 26 people were killed and another 20 injured during a church service? Or the Charleston Church shooting where nine people were killed?
When it comes to Guns in churches, they’re already there. The question is whether or not you’re willing to only allow the evildoers to have guns.
For contrast, let’s look at another church shooting, this one in White Settlement, Texas. In that one, only two members of the congregation were killed. Why weren’t more? Because an armed individual drew his weapon and put the killer down before anyone else could get hurt.
The question has never been about keeping guns out of churches. There’s nothing about a church that makes it immune to the worst forms of violence imaginable. We’d like to believe that people would recognize sacred spaces for what they are, but these aren’t rational, decent people.
“But Christ is about peace.”
Yes, He is. However, He also chased moneylenders out of the temple with a whip. I somehow don’t think he’s against the righteous use of force against someone who would defile a place of worship.
I get the sentiment, I really do, but it’s time for some people to wake up and recognize that evil doesn’t rest on the sabbath. As such, it makes sense to embrace the right to keep and bear arms as a way to resist that evil should it show up. Guns in churches just make sense.