Thursday, December 8, 2016


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Lawful concealed carry and religion intersected in the news recently as Mississippi considered a law to “allow” churches to form church security committees for the protection of the congregation and, with training, for security committee members to carry concealed guns. Previous Mississippi law prohibited concealed carry in a church. The reaction was swift and shrill, with predictions of blood in the aisles. The experience of other states speaks otherwise. Congratulations to Mississippi for expanding liberty.

Laws banning guns from houses of worship violate the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution. The First Amendment prohibits Congress (and through incorporation via the 14th Amendment, state legislatures) from making any law regarding the establishment or free exercise of religion. The “Establishment Clause,” as it has come to be known, has been liberally interpreted to forbid any sort of favoritism for one religious doctrine over another. Prohibiting the bearing of arms in houses of worship supports a doctrine of pacifism over doctrines of preparedness and righteous defense of innocent life.

Constitutional issues aside, carrying a gun at church raises important questions, both doctrinal and practical. At the highest level, it’s worth pointing out that very few religions preach total pacifism or passivity in the face of a threat. No matter what denomination or creed, doctrinal questions should be worked out between individuals, church leadership and God. Having the doctrine settled at the outset will help establish boundaries and can help dictate actions in the event of an incident. Having those questions settled beforehand will make for a more effective response.

The practical matters of guns in churches are significant. Many people have a strong visceral reaction to the idea of someone carrying a gun in a house of worship. Carrying a gun also brings with it a responsibility to maintain a heightened level of awareness and preparedness. That level of awareness can easily conflict with the desire to be totally immersed in spiritual communion. This is a personal matter, but it needs consideration. In contrast, a person who is routinely armed may find that being disarmed can also interfere with one’s worship. Someone who is more comfortable being armed may be uncomfortable and somewhat distracted if forced to go without it, especially in a place with little security and large crowds.

There is also the issue of interfering with the worship of others. Right or wrong, justified or not, many people are simply uncomfortable around guns. If they become aware that someone in the worship service is armed, it could distract them from their worship. Not being sensitive to these folks’ feelings would be inconsiderate and could be a violation of scriptural guidance. The apostle Paul exhorts Christians to avoid things which might cause a brother to stumble, but of course, that can be a difficult proposition when dealing with people with irrational fears.

In this age of the “War on Terror” and a rash of deranged and suicidal individuals taking out their rage on “soft targets” like churches, schools and shopping malls, the idea of going armed has been steadily gaining ground. It once seemed strange for a church, mosque, or synagogue to even have a security plan, much less armed security guards. It is now unusual for houses of worship not to have a plan, and armed, though usually discreet, security is common.

Anyone attending a worship service in states with a strong “gun culture” can pretty safely assume that there are people in the service who are armed. Some are armed at the behest, or at least with the knowledge and agreement of their elders, pastors, or rabbis. Others keep their arms totally discreet, not divulging their presence to anyone. In states like Arizona, which has a long tradition of open carry of firearms, it is not unheard of for someone to show up for church with a gun visible on his hip. Since Arizona lifted requirements for a license or permit to carry a firearms concealed, the typical response to someone carrying openly would be to ask if he would mind pulling his shirt over the gun so as not to disturb any of the other worshipers, but it would be very unlikely for the person to be turned away.

To some people, especially people in highly restrictive states in the Northeast, this might sound shocking, but to gun-folks in the South, West and Midwest, it’s just everyday life. We are generally comfortable with firearms and the people who carry them. More importantly, we understand that laws, signs, or polite requests not to bring a gun somewhere, whether it be a house of worship or a convenience store, will deter only people who represent no threat. Without secured entrances, metal detectors and bag-checks, anyone choosing to ignore the law or the sign on the door will simply do so. If they have evil intentions, they know that the law or the sign simply reduces the likelihood that they might meet any armed resistance to their plans.

Most religions recognize the sanctity of life and condone the use of deadly force in defense of the innocent. Churches, synagogues, mosques and temples have been targeted throughout history by cowards seeking easy targets. Such attacks have occurred here in the United States from the days before the Revolution right up to the present, and some of those attacks have been stopped by armed worshipers. Whether it is a Jew with the words “Never Again!” engraved on the slide of a German Luger, a Sikh remembering the attack in Wisconsin, a Muslim worried about being blamed for terrorist acts committed in the name of his religion, or a Christian volunteering to guard the flock from whatever may come, we should all consider ourselves blessed to live in a country where the right to arms is recognized and protected, and where there are people willing and able to stand against evil, even in our sacred places.

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Now that gay marriage has received the stamp of approval by the Supreme Court – a decision based on personal views and divorced from matters of law and the Constitution – there is little speculation about what will come next.

The showdown between the “Gay Mafia” and the tearing down of churches that reject gay marriage as a matter of religious doctrine has begun.

Cable comedian Bill Mahar is credited with coining the term “Gay Mafia” to describe the nameless faceless gay activists who don’t not wish to engage opponents on the merits of their arguments but to destroy their opponents and avoid debate altogether.

And the “Gay Mafia’s” likely message – now you have to marry us or we will sue. Red State editors writing under the pseudonym “stridentconservative” say:

“…that in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, which fabricated a constitutional basis to legalize “marriage” between two people of the same gender, we will begin to see a new level of religious persecution for those who believe in God’s definition of this sacred arrangement such as we have never seen before…”

“Now that the court has issued its mandate, the extortion tactics will increase as the homosexual mob tries to eliminate all those who refuse to tolerate their sexual practices.

In fact, the lawsuits against churches (have) already begun in Britain where same-sex “marriage” was legalized just a month ago.”

In that case, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow and his civil partner, Tony, a British same-sex couple have gone to court to force churches to hold gay weddings. Their case rests on the fact that even though the British Parliament legalizing gay marriages, the law included a measure protecting churches from being forced into performing same-sex weddings.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s minority discussed this issue in their dissenting opinions but provided no binding judgement.

“Drewitt-Barlow said that he was still not getting what he wanted and the only option left to him and his partner was to take up the challenge in the courts. He added that he thought it was a shame that he was forced to take Christians to court to force them to accept gays.

“It upsets me because I want it so much – a big, lavish ceremony, the whole works. I just don’t think it is going to happen straight away. As much as people are saying this is a good thing, I am still not getting what I want,” said Drewitt-Barlow.”

As gay marriage opponents predicted, the “Gay Mafia” having won the “right” to marry, is now moving to drag churches against their will into the business of gay nuptials and there is little doubt that gay activists will try the same thing in the United States – stacking their “right to marry” above the religious freedoms of churches and synagogues to conduct marriages that comport with centuries of tradition.

This will not be accepted by the “fundamentalist mindset” of Christianity and other religions in the United States and that, according to Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, the gay marriage “battlefield shifts to religious freedom.”

Dr. Land continued:

“Will the progressive, totalitarian and intolerant left weaponize the government and attempt to force or compel people to affirm same-sex behavior and relationships? Or will they respect the freedom of conscience guaranteed by the Constitution?”

“Here’s a guess: It’ll be the former scenario that’ll prove true.”

As we have already seen, gays :

“…have already cried out against Christian bakers who refuse to bake them wedding cakes… against Christian bistro, flower and chapel business owners who refused to perform their marriage ceremony… and against Christian pizzeria owners who (said no when asked) if they would cater a gay marriage”

In each case, the Gay Mafia moved in. Phone lines were jammed with hate calls… business locations and patrons where threatened with physical violence… boycotts implemented… and advertisers smeared as hate mongers all with the intent of shutting down Christian businesses – and the Department of Justice did nothing.

The ultimate test will come when the U.S. Department of Justice moves affirmatively to hold churches and Christian businesses civilly and criminally liable for remaining steadfast to their religious beliefs.

And no doubt, the Gay Mafia will also turn to the Internal Revenue Service to launch discrimination investigations and pull tax-exempt statuses. The ensuing chaos will play in the press as another case of a religious and bigoted attack on gays.

It is too bad that the U.S. Supreme Court majority made no effort to protect the clearly articulate constitutional right to religious freedom to fin the “right” of gays to marry – made up out of whole cloth – to appease the Gay Mafia for now.

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Two churches in Guilford County, North Carolina, were vandalized–presumably by pro-gay activists.

Carl Pulliam, a senior pastor at Bales Memorial Wesleyan Church, couldn’t explain why his church was vandalized.

“I can’t tell you a reason that someone would target this church,” said Pulliam. “Particularly because this is a loving church. This is not a judgment place or a place where someone would ever feel provoked to these kind of acts.”

Damage is estimated to cost more than $10,000, and included a broken church sign, and spray-painted messages on the church doors: “[God] hates you!” and “Gay’s ok!” The church’s bus was also damaged.

Nearby, Grace Baptist Church was targeted with similar graffiti and vandalism–including broken windows and a rainbow painted on the side of the church.

The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department doesn’t know yet for sure whether the incidents are connected, but are continuing to look for suspects.

Regardless, it’s sad that Christian churches have become targets for liberal radicals in the Left’s growing War on Christianity. And it’s even sadder when the congregations targeted are welcoming to everyone.


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