Guns at Church–Do You Carry?

The Jesus-with-a-gun meme is prolific. Ironic? Possibly. That's what we're here to discuss.

The Jesus-with-a-gun meme is prolific. Ironic? Possibly. That’s what we’re here to discuss.

Any of you diehards out there who are still reading my articles because I wrote them (hi Mom!)  may know that this isn’t the first time I’ve written about guns at church. Yet I feel like it is a topic worth exploring on a regular basis. So I’m exploring it again.

A happy story to get us started. This is my go-to church/gun anecdote, and it illustrates all of the hope I have for humanity. Once, a few years back, I was in the local Walmart, admiring their ammo selection. This happened long ago, back when there was more rimfire rounds in a single Walmart than there were emails that Hilary deleted. And who should I bump into but an old man I knew from church. “Knew” is a relative term (And I don’t mean it in the biblical sense). I knew who he was because I saw him at church every Sunday. And any other time I went to church. He was always there, at the door, standing tall while everyone else sat for worship. To protect his fragile anonymity, I’ll call him Wally.

When Wally saw me there in the ammo isle, he ambled up and struck up a conversation. We talked Springfields, and he whipped out his XD, right there in Sporting Goods, and we both fawned over the gun. Turns out Wally had a nice collection of defensive firearms, and exercised them regularly. After about an hour of gun talk, we both got on with the shopping. That was the last real conversation I had with Wally, though we regularly spoke. Every Sunday, at some random point during the service, I’d happen to catch his eye. Wally would wink and pat his pocket, the one with the XD in it (I came to recognize the print of the holster). And I knew what he was saying. He was watching over his flock.

If you’re still with me after this brief narrative detour, I’ll ask this: do you carry at church? Here in Arkansas, where I live now, churches can set their own rules. Even private schools associated with churches can establish rules for who can and who can’t carry. As I’m the Editor here at GunsAmerica, and a staunch proponent of everyday carry, you might guess how I feel on the matter. I’d carry everywhere, if I could. I carry at home. I carry when I’m on the road. I carry where carry is legal. And where it is not, I often find myself improvising. I carry what I can. A knife. A stout pen. Steel-toed boots. My wits.

I prefer John 3:57....

I prefer John 3:57….

For the sake of transparency, I’ll share a bit about my religious upbringing. I was raised in protestant churches–Presbyterian and Methodist, mostly. Most of my mother’s family is Baptist, or evangelical. My father’s side was loosely Episcopalian, and I’m married to a devout Catholic (and have been attending masses regularly now for close to 20 years). I’m going to leave my scriptural interpretations at the door and talk about practicalities. I can quote my way out of most scriptural arguments–but I also understand what Tom Waits means in “Misery is the River of the World” when he sings “The Devil knows the Bible like the back of his hand.”

For me, it goes well beyond scriptural teachings on violence. The issue itself is deeply theological. It cuts to the core of my beliefs. See, I’m a doubter. I doubt. Everything. I could easily construct an argument that says New Testament teachings on pacifism demand that I stand idly by. I could turn the other cheek until I have no more cheeks to turn. Then doubt creeps in and says what if I was placed here to defend someone else? It is heady. And it can inflate your ego in unhealthy ways to imagine that you’re the right hand of the Lord.

I’ve heard well-meaning Christians argue that there should be no guns in church because Jesus preached nonviolence, and peace. Still, some of these same upstanding Christians own guns, and are prepared to defend themselves outside of church. They get prickly when I suggest that such a stance amounts to abject hypocrisy. If you believe in total pacifism, I’ll support and defend your beliefs, but you have to carry those beliefs with you in the world. You can’t check your faith (or your gun, I’d argue) at the church door.

I would however like to add another element to the conversation. Below is the full text of a letter sent by Rev. Edward Fride to his parishioners at Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan (h/t TTAG).

The full text of the letter is copied here. It is a beast. Something tells me this man can deliver one helluva sermon. He certainly got the wind in his sails on this topic. But I’d suggest that you kick back and read the whole thing.

Unfortunately for the priest in question, the one who’s approach to this question seems–to me at least–very well considered, he answers to the Bishop. After his letter garnered media attention, the Bishop shut him down. That quote is below, too.

The Letter from Fr. Fride

“We’re Not In Mayberry Anymore, Toto!

I have received some feedback from two events recently, one, the announcement I made at the 4:30 Mass on Palm Sunday concerning the CPL (Concealed Pistol License) class and some description of local threats, and the other, concerning the offering of a CPL class at the parish, co-sponsored by the parish. I’d like to respond to some concerns in the context of the broader issue of personal safety and reasonable protection in relation to the parish’s role.

Fr. Fride.

Fr. Fride.

Are We Still in Mayberry?

For those of you who do not get the allusion (the blessed ‘young’ among us), it is a bad mix of two entertainment references.

Mayberry was a fictitious, idyllic rural American city in which the public safety needs were met by a kind-hearted sheriff and a clueless but well-intentioned deputy. The only ‘threat’ to public safety was a bumbling, genial ne’er-do-well who was so accustomed to staying in jail that he had his own cell, which was never locked. The show, The Andy Griffith Show, was so popular that it had two spin offs, Mayberry RFD and Gomer Pyle, USMC. It was popular because it showed a kind of life that everybody wished were true, no threats, everything is fine, everybody’s perfectly safe, etc. There is no crisis that cannot be solved by hugs and Aunt Bea’s cooking. The “Toto” reference is to a famous line from The Wizard of Oz in which Dorothy, who comes from a rural Kansas version of Mayberry, but suddenly finds herself in a dangerous environment of witches, deadly flying monkeys, (I still have nightmares about those wretched and heinous beasts!) and real threats to her life. She begins to comprehend this and says to her cute dog: “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto!” It is very common for Christians to simply assume that they live in Mayberry, trusting that because they know the Lord Jesus, everything will always be fine and nothing bad can happen to them and their families. Those who have followed the Lord Jesus for more than 20 minutes, however, have often experienced first-hand that the reality of living in a fallen universe can be very different. How to balance faith, reality, prudence, and trust is one of those critical questions that we struggle with all our lives. Pretending we are in Mayberry, while we are clearly not, can have very negative consequences for ourselves and those we love, especially those we have a responsibility to protect. If we are not in Mayberry, is there a real threat?

Let’s be specific about what we are talking about: for our purposes, a threat is an awareness of a condition that could result in clear and present danger to our lives or our property. What is that condition? In terms of our personal safety, and the safety of our homes, the situation is that approximately 50 years ago or so, the ratio of police to bad guys, i.e. criminals in the traditional sense, was more or less sufficient to reasonably control crime. However, in more recent years two regrettable factors have taken place. First, the amount of crime has substantially grown; second, due to budget cuts, there has been a significant reduction in the availability of an armed police response. This situation was highlighted recently by the chief of police of the City of Detroit who publically encouraged the law-abiding citizens of Detroit to arm themselves for their protection and the protection of their homes. He went so far as to say: “Good Americans with CPLs (Concealed Pistol Licenses) translates into crime reduction.” His statement included the idea that the police could no longer adequately protect the citizens of Detroit and it was therefore their responsibility to take seriously their obligation to assist in their own protection and the protection of those they love. This has actually been good for Detroit, and ironically bad for us, or for those who live in the suburbs. During the CPL class last Saturday at Christ the King, a police officer from a suburb of Detroit who was conducting part of the class pointed out that because more Detroiters are protecting themselves, more of the criminals are now targeting the suburbs, because most of the suburbs consider themselves distant or immune from the threat. But in point of fact, as the officer pointed out, the threat is actually growing there. It is not just in the big cities either. The police chief of Williamston where Fr. Mark serves told him recently that he encouraged people to get CPL’s because if they wanted to be safe, it was necessary (and Williamston is a whole lot closer to Mayberry than the Ann Arbor/Ypsi area). That same officer from the CPL class personally thanked me for having the parish do this class and expressed a hope that more would follow suit, because having law abiding citizens armed makes their job as police so much better. When the police are expressing the fact that they cannot now sufficiently cover the areas assigned to them and are explicitly encouraging people to arm themselves and carry, who is the expert in the field of our protection that we should listen to more than them? Who knows more about the lack of safety than the ones who are formally tasked to attempt to provide it? Prudence requires taking their advice seriously. How close to home is this? A few weeks ago some of our folks had their next door neighbor killed in a robbery. It doesn’t get much closer than that.

I was curious about the local church situation so I called some of the local congregations to see what their approach was to folks having weapons. At Knox Presbyterian, which has a history of having their parking lot robbed by the same gang that had targeted us and St. Joe’s Dexter, they had no policy and told me they would have to have a committee to discuss it and I should get back to them in a few months. I pointed out that I had walked into the building, through unlocked doors, during a time when the building was filled with Christ the King kids and others doing the homeschool co-op. I found their lack of security or even awareness of its need distressing at best. On the other hand, when I talked to several Protestant ministers in Ypsilanti, they told me that they all regularly carry (i.e. carry concealed pistols) and that especially during their services, they have armed uniform guards present. They take the threat to their folks and their worshipping congregation seriously. They told me that they felt that they had a duty to acknowledge the reality of the threat and to take appropriate action for their people’s safety.

Others have made similar observations, for example, the movie theaters. In the aftermath of the Aurora theater shooting, you may have noticed that Rave Cinema started having armed guards present at their Friday and Saturday nights’ shows. They were very visibly present, and armed. It brought about a sense of security, and actually helped to establish that security. However, Rave was sold and according to theater employees, the new company didn’t want to foot the bill for security and now there are toy cops present, who in an actual threat would be of as much use as screen doors on a sub. What about a police response to a theater threat? In the Aurora situation, it could not have been more ideal, the police where already on site handling the traffic for the Batman opening. They were at the theater where the shooting was taking place in 90 seconds. A 90 second response time would seem to be great, right? In those 90 seconds the shooter had shot 82 people, killing 12. Ninety seconds is an eternity. The shooter drove by two other theaters which allowed patrons to carry firearms and went to the Aurora theater which didn’t allow people to carry.”No firearms allowed” turns out to be crazy-speak for “target rich environment.” The shooter knew he would have the whole place to himself, and he did, for as long as it took to shoot 82 people. The toll would have been much higher but his primary gun malfunctioned.

What about our schools? The fact that two active shooters got within yards of Father Gabriel Richard before they were taken down by SWAT demonstrates that the threat is real. This druggie couple from Detroit stole a car and it broke down at Plymouth and Dixboro. They went through the woods and had almost reached the high school when they were stopped. Because it was a Mass day, the doors were open so the parents could get in to attend the Mass. There is zero security at the high school. Had the shooters got in, we would have had our own Columbine. But what if their car had broken down on Plymouth and Earhart instead? They would have been coming through the woods into our parish center backyard on a day when the parish center was full of kids. What then? I recently participated in ALICE training with faculty from FGR, SSA, and HVCS. It is training faculty and administration to respond to an active shooter on their site. The protocol has been radically changed from ‘basically duck and cover’ to ‘rush the shooter.’ The ‘duck and cover’ approach turned out to be disastrous, since during the Virginia Tech shooting the shooter just went from room to room shooting students. Now faculty is being taught that rushing the shooter will result in saving lives. In fact, the superintendent of one school district advised all the kids in their schools to bring a canned good from home to keep at their desk so they could throw it at a shooter if one came to their classroom. That catastrophic morning, the principals at Columbine and Sandy Hook probably thought they had done everything prudent they could to protect their kids, and ended up with schools full of dead kids. I bet they go to bed most nights wondering about what more they should have done. One response other people made was that in the area around the Sandy Hook school, CPL applications went up 300%.

That the threat is real we are hearing loud and clear from our police and their input to us is to be protected, ourselves and our families. They are openly supportive of CPL’s and doing what is necessary to adequately protect our families and our homes.

Fear

One comment made after I made the announcement at the Palm Sunday 4:30 Mass was that the announcement caused fear in some. Let’s analyze that for a moment. Fear is a normal response to a perceived threat condition. Our emotions, though distorted by the Fall, were, in part, given to us to assist in making decisions under certain conditions. For example, a significant experience of fear puts the body into ‘fight or flight’; a specific physiological response that prepares us to defend ourselves against a significant perceived threat, either by fighting or escaping. The emotion of fear also communicates, in this situation, two fundamental realities: a threat is present (or is being described as present) and we are not equipped to deal with that threat. It demonstrates the second in that our normal experience is that when we are faced by a threat we know we can handle, we don’t experience fear, or at least we do not experience it at the same level. When I get into the sparring ring with a hundred pound yellow belt, there is no fear—there is a threat but it can easily be handled. If at the last minute Chuck Norris jumped into the ring and took his place, the fear would be very real! If most of us were placed in a combat situation, the fear would be very real, so real as to almost be paralyzing; if some Team Six Navy SEALs were placed in the same situation, there would be great focus and concentration, but little fear. So, when we hear about the threats enumerated above, what is our response? If it is fear because we perceive that both the threat is real and that we are unprepared, then we need to have a better response.

The Responses to the Threat

There are a few different responses that can be made to this, most problematic but one highly useful. On the problematic side, number one is ostrich syndrome—bury your head in the sand, pretending that the threat isn’t there—if you can’t see it, it can’t see you. Good luck with that. What that approach ends up with is just a lot of dead ostriches. The police have made it clear that the threat is real, they have given specific advice as to how to deal more effectively with that threat. Ignoring their professional advice is problematic at best.

A variant on that, and one that is likely much more prevalent here is ‘I’m not worried, I’m a Christian, God will protect me.’ This is a Christian variant on ‘Mayberry syndrome’ Sounds pious, even Biblical, but is it true? The reductio ad absurdum of that argument is fairly simple: this argument requires us to believe that none of the kids killed at Columbine, or Sandy Hook, or Virginia Tech, or the adults at Aurora were Christians. We clearly know otherwise. There was in the past a certain kind of ‘magical’ thinking in some communities that because we were so special, so faithful, so charismatic, so whatever, that nothing bad could ever happen to us, to our marriages, to our kids, etc. History has demonstrated the radical insufficiency of that perspective.

It is the case, of course, that the Lord Jesus can intervene to protect us. I have personally experienced the wonderful combination of word of knowledge and release of the charismatic power gifts that have literally saved my life in several situations. However, not to be too blunt about it, but I would bet that there are not more than a handful of people in the parish that are currently operating in the charismatic gifts at that level so that they could utilize them in an attack situation for the defense of their family. Repeated pleas to folks to take our advanced courses and learn more about the power of the Spirit have not generally been well-heeded. Perhaps this new reason to do so (which in fact was always part of my pushing those classes) may get better attendance in the future. But I would also point out, that notwithstanding my capacity to use the gifts in serious threat situations, twice the Lord Jesus had me respond to imminent very dangerous personal threats using more prosaic means, e.g. disarming an attacker in one case and physically challenging members of an attacking gang in another.

What about the passive choice, i.e. I choose to not resist, I chose to turn the other cheek? This certainly has Biblical grounds. What about this? In 1971 I met the Lord Jesus, got Spirit-filled, and became Catholic. I had always had pacifist leanings (I was a Ghandi groupie) and when I turned 18 I decided to be a conscientious objector. The Vietnam War was still raging, the draft was still in effect and my graduating class, the class of 71, was the first one to be ineligible for the student deferment. St. Francis was my patron Saint, his approach considerably moved me, as did the testimony of so many others. The Biblical evidence was clear, the pacifist position was an option. The Church’s approach simultaneously allowed and blessed both alternatives, the pacifist approach and the right to protect the common good with military action if necessary. My parents were absolutely opposed as were many of my friends. I continued doing research and praying and eventually decided to file a Form 150, petition to be granted conscientious objector status. My draft board was notorious for not granting them but in my case they did. So, I am well aware of all the arguments for the pacifist position, and I still respect it for those who wish to take it for themselves. So what changed? For me, as is not surprising for an immature 18 year old, it was all about me, what should I do, what should be the ramifications for my life, etc. As I matured and especially as I became more and more aware of the Catholic moral teaching on the common good and the right and obligation to protect it, I began to see how completely individualistic my choice had been. This was not surprising, coming from a Congregational background in which the common good is not taught and the individualism and the individual congregation is the absolute decider (hence the name). But as I studied Catholic moral teaching more, I realized that if I made a choice like that, I was not only making it for myself but for all those who might have a reasonable call on me for their protection. It is no accident that the percentage of Catholics in police forces and the military is far higher than the percentage of Catholics in the general population. Catholics are raised with this idea of self-sacrifice and the active promotion of the common good, even at the cost of self. The quote often used to describe the military experience sums this up so well: ‘they don’t fight because they hate who is in front of them, but because they love those who are behind them.’ I began to consider a set of moral scenarios, ‘what would I do if’ scenarios. I eventually concluded that I was certainly no longer a pacifist absolutist; there were situations in which I would actively intervene, even to a lethal level if necessary. I could not generally see myself doing that simply to protect myself—especially if martyrdom was involved, but what if I came across a woman being beaten or sexually assaulted, or somebody attacking kids? In those cases my response would be immediate and sufficient. The ‘what would Jesus do’ is often used as a defense for pacifism, but when you read what Jesus actually does, as Revelation describes as He leads His army to destroy those attacking Israel, to say it does not go well for the bad guys would be something of an understatement. (Or you could ask Ananias and Sapphira how that ‘Jesus is a pacifist’ worked for them.)

What then should our response be? Here we have the advantage of Catholic moral teaching, which can assist us in not falling into fundamentalist traps. The virtue of prudence has been given to all of us, it is the capacity to judge what is the appropriate action at a given time. The Church urges us to grow in our understanding and exercise of the virtues and in this case in particular, prudence is of paramount importance. So what is prudent in this situation? If those tasked by our society to protect us are telling us that they are no longer sufficiently able to do so, and they in point of fact are urging us to arm ourselves for our protection and the protection of our families, how could it possibly be prudent to ignore that? How could it be prudent to ignore their professional advice? Ignoring their advice would mean one of four things: you think that they are wrong, or you and your family are already adequately protected, or the odds are ‘ever in your favor’ against an attack occurring, or you have already decided not to defend yourself or family if attacked. As to the first, if you have hard data that puts you in a better place to make judgments about these issues than the police are, I’d love to see the data. As to the second, good for you. As to the third, risking your family’s safety on essentially a coin-toss approach is ludicrous and in fact ignores the police input. As to the fourth, I have known many pacifists in my earlier times with the Quaker peace groups, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, etc. Some of them were absolutists who would not defend themselves and their families in any attack situation. My response was that if the adults had made that decision, that was one thing, but no adult has the right to make that decision for a minor. Kids have an absolute right to expect their parents’ protection.

CPL and Christ the King

Part of the announcement that I made at that Mass was misunderstood to suggest that I was about creating a CTK militia to fight against the Moslem threat posed by Dearborn. In point of fact the comments I made about the jihadi threat were specifically in relationship to the published ISIS threat against the domestic families of our military, a threat the military has responded to very seriously. I will address the threat to our military families in a different email. The threat that I am most concerned about is not a religious threat to the parish or our members, though for those who think “it could never happen here,” those were exactly the sentiments of the ancient Christian community of Mosul, who are now dead or in exile and whose ancient Cathedral has been desecrated into something else. But that is a different topic. The point here is that the threat that the police have been addressing is not the jihadi threat but the ‘normal’ threat of a progressively more dangerous society in which we live. The point of having the CPL class at Christ the King was two-fold. First, I have spoken to many folks about getting CPL’s and difficulty scheduling; inconvenience, etc. had stood in their way. Second, and more importantly, doing it here at the parish, co-sponsored by the parish, was an attempt to get people to realize the reality of the threat and take it seriously. In a conversation with one person, I was told that when people hear me say these things, they just think to themselves, ‘well, that’s just Fr. Ed’ and they ignore it. You have no idea how deeply hurtful that was. But, in any event, that’s why my approach here was not to simply say what I think, but to try to point out the reality of the situation, especially as the police themselves are articulating it to us. If you don’t trust my insights into the situation, at least trust the professionals whose job it is to protect us. Case in point, two parents had their kids temporarily removed from their custody because they let them walk some distance away from their homes without adult supervision, this was seen as negligence on the parents’ part by child protective services. While that particular case could be seen as an over-reaction. Clearly there are neighborhoods no longer safe for our kids to be unaccompanied. If child protective services and the courts are now demonstrating a high standard of protection for our kids, precisely because of the perceived greater threat, should we not pay attention, especially if the police themselves are saying the same thing and pointing out their inability to adequately protect us and our families?

So, the choice of course is yours. Each family must consider what it is prudent for them to do. We will offer the CPL class on two more Saturdays and it is my fervent hope that people will take advantage of it, for the reasons I have mentioned. I think it perfectly appropriate for the parish to offer this class because the protection of our families and our kids is of paramount importance to us. Since the police have informed us that it is naïve and simply wrong to think that they can adequately protect us, then we must take the necessary steps to do so. The steps must be reasoned steps and not simply knee jerk reactions. Several people have said to me, I’m afraid of guns. My response to one woman was, ‘well, how do you feel about rape?’ While that may seem extreme, when we chose against one option, we do, in a sense, empower the other. Ann Arbor was plagued by a serial rapist not long ago, no doubt every woman raped had thought it could never happen to her. The threat is real, fear is a choice. If we are adequately protected, fear need not be the reality. Our families, especially our kids, are the second most precious gift given to us by the Lord Jesus. He Himself being the greatest. How we respond to threat to this gift should be very seriously considered and it is my fervent hope and prayer that all the families in Christ the King will do so.

Your brother in the service of Christ the King,

Fr. Ed”

My hat’s off to Fr. Ed. I hope I get to meet him someday. Maybe take him to the range. But I’d promised the Bishop’s response. And here it is, via Fr. Fride:

“I would like to make the following statement in relationship to the CPL controversy currently in the media:
 
The Lord Jesus has blessed us greatly in calling Bishop Earl Boyea to serve us as the fifth Bishop of Lansing.  I have been and continue to be very grateful for his ministry, especially his great work in leading the Diocese in the fulfillment  of the Holy Fathers’ call to the New Evangelization that all people would hear the message of the saving love of the Lord Jesus Christ.  As our Bishop, he is responsible for setting policy for our parishes and he has decided and publicly stated that CPL classes are not appropriate on Church property.  That is his call to make and we will obviously follow his policy on this and on all decisions he makes as he shepherds this Diocese.  No parish is an island unto itself and no priest operates on his own.  I am his priest and I will continue to serve him to the best of my ability.
 
Fr. Ed Fride”

That statement appeared yesterday. This one came today:

“The Bishops of Michigan have weighed in on this topic numerous times, most recently in December 2012, saying: “Churches are meant to be a place of sanctuary for worshippers to gather in peace, free of the threat of gun violence.”

Bishop Boyea himself said in 2012, “At the core of our mission is service to the most vulnerable persons in society. Many have already been wounded in body or mind by the American epidemic of violence. Fragile people come to us for help every day, and it is essential that our sites be refuges — places of peace in every sense. We are followers of Jesus Christ, who raised not a hand against those who mocked, tortured, and finally murdered him. While we grasp both the Second Amendment and the legitimate right of some persons to defend themselves, our churches and our schools are dedicated to a far different approach to life’s problems.”

Flowing from this, Bishop Boyea has never given permission for anyone to carry a concealed weapon in a church or school of the Diocese of Lansing.

This ban on weapons has now been extended to “open carry” in our churches and our schools, thus making them gun-free zones.

Additionally, Bishop Boyea further states that Concealed Pistol License classes are inappropriate activities to be held on Church property.

As always we rely on the public or professional security forces to provide for public safety on Church property.”

So there you have it. Despite the fact that the Vatican has a standing army, with lots of gun, ready to defend the tiny city, the churches of Michigan stand on their own. Good luck parishioners. Peace be with you.

 

{ 148 comments… add one }
  • borvestinkral June 28, 2017, 5:56 am

    I have been reading out many of your stories and it’s pretty nice stuff. I will surely bookmark your blog.

  • BJG April 23, 2016, 5:58 pm

    I don’t have C/C, cost over $350.00 In Il. But if I did, I would carry in Church. There are some low lives that don’t care where they do their evil deeds. Church, Workplace , Hospital, School anywhere they can.

  • Tls April 22, 2016, 10:05 am

    I am very much a late comer to this conversation. It has been very interesting. Let start off by saying, thank you for quoting scripture. I have been a Baptist minister for over 30 years. I currently am and have been the youth pastor for our church 14 years. I conceal carry in my church. We have several men and women who carry. The Bible teaches that our savior is the shepherd of our church. Our pastor is the “under” shepherd of the church. Our pastor, as this under shepherd, is required to look to the health of his flock spiritually and physically. Just as we husbands and fathers are required by God to take care of and protect our families, our pastor is required by God to do the same with the local church. This includes protection with a weapon. I personally believe, every pasror has this right and it is our pastor’s right to make the decision whether or not the congregation should be allowed to carry. If he chose not to allow, even though I believe this would be a very foolish decision, he would answer to his God for this decision and it is within his right. If I, as a member or staff member had a problem with this decision due to vulnerability, I would move my membership where I could exercise my belief of protection since this is not a doctrinal issue. I also understand there are some that would make this a doctrinal issue. I don’ t believe it is. Thank you for this conversation .

  • steve April 19, 2016, 12:53 am

    I am a christian,I go to church regularly and i do worship the LORD Jesus Christ. That being said I usta struggle whit my own doubts as to carrying a concealed handgun was somehow wrong .Was i truly trusting in the Lord or was i only half trusting in him? I prayed about it ,I had a permit ,was legal,but i wondered what did God think about it.One day I found myself in a local gun store looking at holesters and a older man mabey 70 or so was beside me and we started talking and some I mentioned my problem to him .this is what he said,he asked me did i belive God knew all things and i said yes.he then asked if i belived that David,when he was a young boy and fought the giant ,if David was under the power of the Holy Spirit? and i said yes ,so then he says how many stones did David go and pick up at te brook before fighting the giant? and i answered 5 smooth stones,Then he says don’t you figger that God was diricting him to do that and i said yes.Then he says well how many stones did it take to kill the giant and i told him 1.Then he ask’s then why did God have him pick up 5 stones if he only needed 1? and I told him I really diddnt know come to think of it and he says because the Giant of Gath had 3 son’s and 1brother.And God was preparing David just incase.and he said carry your gun son it’s not wrong to be ready just in case.And he told me go home and read your Bible and you will see I’ve told you the truth.so i did and sure enuff he was right.and yes i do carry even in church.

  • Joe DePalantino April 15, 2016, 1:16 pm

    Those who say Christ preached pacifism are ignorant of scripture. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful sense. I just mean they don’t understand the context in which scripture talks about “turning the other cheek.” The context of turning the other cheek relates to persecution one may receive for his/her faith in Christ. Christ Himself is the perfect example. He died for our sins on the cross even though He was perfectly innocent of any crime or sin. In fact, He was perfect in every way. Yet he didn’t open His mouth to defend His innocence. Pilot said the he ” found no fault in this man” before he turned Christ over to the crowd to be crucified. Paul the Apostle was also persecuted for his faith, eventually being beheaded by the Roman government. Paul did defend his innocence before the Roman government as a Roman citizen, but he did not fight against his eventual beheading
    for his faith. However, scripture never teaches pacifism. Go back to the Old Testament. How did the Israelite nation obtain the land of Canaan God promised them? They fought for it. Who helped them win the battles? God did. When Joshua listened to the Lord, he and his Israelite army won their battles. Who helped King David defeat the enemies of Israel? The Lord did. Who helped David defeat Goliath, the Phillisitine giant who defied the Lord of the Bible? The Lord did. In fact David decapitated Goliath to show that Goliath’s strength was no match for God. Christ said in Luke 22.36 “…and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” This He told His disciples before He was crucified. While He was with them, He protected them. But with His pending death, Christ was telling them that they would need to have some form of personal protection in an evil world. In the Garden of Gethsemane, when Peter cut off the ear of one of the men who had come to arrest Jesus, Jesus did not chide Peter for having a sword, but merely for trying to stop Jesus from going to His death on the cross, which was the reason for His coming to earth in the first place. In the Book of Ephesians, husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Men are to be protectors of their families. If a man loves his family, he will provide protection for it, not let someone hurt it without trying to defend it. Did Christ teach pacifism? Does the Bible promote it? I see no evidence for it. If I carry a concealed weapon to my church, I do not see that action as conflicting with the teachings of Christ or the Bible in general.

  • perlcat April 15, 2016, 11:15 am

    As a church leader, I would never issue a prohibition on guns in church. It’s none of my business what’s in the members’ pants, and I prefer it that way. I do fail to understand the ‘logic’ on the prohibition on teaching CCW on their property. It is a safety course, and the main difference between a CCW permit holder and some guy with a gun in his pocket is that the CCW holder has had a safety course, and is significantly less likely to do something stupid or negligent. What’s not to like about that?

    • MG April 15, 2016, 3:18 pm

      Many states like mine (PA) don’t require any safety course. You simply pay $35 for the permit, pass the background check and that’s it. Additionally, more and more states are adopting Constitutional Carry, which doesn’t require any .gov permission whatsoever – if you can buy a gun, you can carry a gun.

      Training and safety courses are great and should be encouraged, but not mandated. The fact is every year millions of Americans use guns properly, defending their lives, having never passed a safety course or received any training. Imagine that.

      • perlcat April 18, 2016, 11:02 am

        I actually go the other way on the safety courses. I think that every single man, woman, and child should have a firearms safety course. It’s absurd to single out firearms owners for firearms safety, when the appalling, overwhelming ignorance of firearms, purchasing laws and such is fuel for the political careers of unethical criminals who are unable to understand the concept of national secrets in a sense other than that the enemies of our country pay better for them…

  • Randolph W. Haus April 6, 2016, 2:41 pm

    Luke 22 Verse 36: The words of the Lord Himself: Let he who hath not a sword sell his cloak and buy one. There is no more to say, period. I have been a police officer for thirty-eight years and I served in Iraq for one year as a civil police officer attached to the 6th Squadron of the 8th United States Cavalry, the greatest unit in the greatest Army in the world. I would no more go out as an upright Christian man without my firearm than I would without my pants. Oh, and as a matter of policy, I don’t recognize so-called “gun free zones.” They are “please come and kill us, we are moron sheep who want to watch our children be killed while we stand helplessly by zones.” We have to start pushing back folks. Randolph W. Haus, Cocoa, FL

  • D. Sparks April 2, 2016, 6:22 am

    I carry in my Church. Our Paster encourages me to carry anytime the church is open. This includes services and any events we host. California’s application for a CCW ask for three personal references, my Paster and Assistant Paster where two of my three. One of my reasons to carry is that I escort the church’s treasurer to the bank when he makes deposits after church services.

  • William Bruce Edwards April 1, 2016, 6:27 pm

    My wife and I attend a small Conservative Church and we have a number of Active and Retired LEOs in attendance. Both the wife and I are retired LEO’s and carry everyday as do over a half dozen of our other Church members. We even have a strategic plan if there is some type of active shooter and we are seated in different locations throughout the members. Our former Pastor told me he has received threats from those who claim Islam as their belief and he welcomed the LEO members and felt safer for us being there. Our new Pastor feels the same way and is a firearm enthusiast as well. Some church members have told me they feel safe knowing there are some of us who are armed. All of us carry concealed and most carry their firearm in a IWB holster so any display or printing of the weapon is non detectable…

  • max hoyle April 1, 2016, 1:13 pm

    I think that there’s an place where Christ tells his Disciples to trade their cloak for a sword isn’t there? WHEN MOSLEM CRAZIES start working here, I think our churches will be prime targets, so a unobtrusive shooter is called for, I have no doubt that they will come here sooner or later!

  • DarthVaderMentor April 1, 2016, 10:04 am

    I always carry my little LCP in my pocket to all church events in the summer and my Glock 42 or Walther PPK/S during the colder months.

  • Joel Schooler March 30, 2016, 4:18 pm

    I have read all of the comments and I have one question. Can a church or retail establishment be held liable for NOT providing proper protection and security from physical harm? I ask this because I have read numerous accounts of frivolous lawsuits being filed and won by people being physically injured such as; burned by “hot” coffee, slipping and falling on a wet floor and other “physical” injuries incurred at their establishment or house of worship. I personally would notify my church leadership of my full intention of filing such a suit should a criminal have his way with me and my family while attending their services. I wonder, would they prevent me from attending their church if I were to advise them of my intentions up front? What would that say about the Catholic Church in general if they said yes? Does that mean that Catholicism is only for a specific few who meet their standards? Kind of makes that “God is for everyone” statement ring untrue to me.

  • AL MATHIES March 25, 2016, 7:49 am

    JOHN 18-10
    Peter regularly carried a sword to protect himself and maybe others. When Jesus was confronted by the high priest’s troops Peter reached for his sword and cut off the servants ear. Jesus told him to sheath his weapon because it was His time to die on the cross. If Peter carried what was available to him in his day, even with the Son of God beside him, then it should be perfectly fine to carry what is available to protect ourselves and others in our day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mike March 18, 2016, 3:21 pm

    I belong to a church that has ruled It’s members may not carry concealed or open in church. That rule doesn’t apply to officers of the law who happen to be in church either for worship or incidentally in their duties or other church activity. Personally I am licensed to carry concealed and do so at all times except in church. I choose not to patronize commercial establishments that do not allow me to carry on their premises. The obvious dichotomy in my life I justify by my view that faith is just that, it doesn’t have to make sense. I obey many laws that make no sense in logic. Case in point, freeways were designed for speeds of 70 miles per hour, In California trucks are limited to 55 miles per hour, the 15 mile per hour difference creates a hazardous condition if a car driver has attention diverted for just a moment. (To check a rear view mirror, check the gauges in the instrument cluster, speed fuel etc.) Paying taxes to support a park 25 miles away doesn’t serve my needs but is the law, so I do. My point is, we do things that don’t have to be logical but we do them anyway. Society seems a better place for it. Work to change what you can, put up with the rest.

    • MG April 15, 2016, 4:22 pm

      Personally I think you’re very foolish to comply with your church’s rule on no guns. It’s called concealed carry for a reason – no one knows you have it, but it’s there if necessary. Snap out of it and carry your dang gun.

      • Tom Wheeler April 16, 2016, 5:34 pm

        I don’t think you’re foolish. I felt as you until I visualized a situation where a threat existed and being unarmed I was less equipped to help. I don’t want to be like those people in Paris who watched as others were being shot!

  • loupgarous March 12, 2016, 4:33 am

    Unfortunately, the gospel of Entitlement is spreading faster than the Word of God, Bishops, unfortunately, live in nice rectories with staff who insulate them from the realities of life.

    Jesus said “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”
    (Luke 22:36).

    I can’t imagine clearer guidance in the Word of God requiring Christians to go armed in defense of themselves and their neighbors.

  • Jim March 11, 2016, 2:56 pm

    Anyone with a half a brain who has a gun permit and leaves their gun in the car because there is a sign on the door that says “No Guns Allowed” is not only naïve and lives in Mayberry but is down right dumb. I carry every where regardless. The only place I don’t carry is the court house or municipal buildings with armed officers inside, then I know I am protected. For those of you that lock it in the car… good luck when the nut case comes in with his gun and starts killing innocent people that you could have protected. But now you’re dead too.

    • Silver Trooper April 15, 2016, 6:17 am

      I have my CWP here in SC and carry everywhere (including those “gun free” zones). However, I do have one exception, and that is when I go to the base commissary and exchange (I am retired Air Force). Since they have not yet opened the bases to CWP owners, I am not going to risk a random search followed by possible arrest. Not willing to gamble on losing my retirement no matter how strong my convictions may be for being able to carry on base.

  • MGM February 14, 2016, 5:58 pm

    These days evil pops up anywhere and everywhere. It only makes sense to thwart it at each and every opportunity, with gun or knife or club or death penalty. Use any weapon, wherever and whenever it comes calling. Anything less is allowing it to exist and strike.

  • Mike February 12, 2016, 10:57 am

    Jesus himself advocated being armed for protection. Don’t believe me? Then believe Jesus’ own words in the Bible.
    Luke 22
    36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
    In todays language, that would say – if you don’t have a gun, sell some of your possessions and go buy one. Nuff said.

  • James Milnamow January 22, 2016, 12:07 pm

    If you have a Concealed Carry License you should be carrying everywhere you go. Of course you should especially carry in church as in restaurants and anywhere they post no welcome signs because unless the owner of the building approaches you and demands that you do not carry, your concealed property is your own business. The sign is meaningless. My State has a specific law that allows carry in all restaurants, it is only when it seems that it is going to cause a disturbance because you were confronted and admitted having a weapon that you should leave. So leave and place it in a better place.

  • Tom January 22, 2016, 8:05 am

    The bishop in this story that made all of his parishes gun-free-zones, otherwise known as “killing fields” or “target rich environments” is definitely in the category of the ostrich that is putting his head in the sand. He obviously hasn’t noticed that ALL of the mass shootings in the US have happened in “gun-free-zones”. News flash, there is a subset of society that doesn’t care what the rules or laws are. We sometimes refer to these people as criminals. In my opinion the people that decide to classify a place as a gun-free-zone should be prosecuted along with the murders because they are complicit in the mass shooting by providing a place to commit the murders where they would have no fear of being confronted by anyone to resist them.

  • Jim January 8, 2016, 12:08 pm

    I live in Georgia, which recently passed a church option for carry. I felt uncomfortable leaving my gun in my car whenever I was in church, so I asked the senior pastor about it and he welcomed the presence. He said several ushers and at least one associate pastor carried. At the next service, which was after San Bernardino, he announced that our church was not a soft target and all could feel safe here. Even the Apostles of Jesus were armed. Peter used a sword to cut the ear off a Guard. Jesus stopped him because His time had come, but what would have happened had they been attacked by bandits in the wilderness?

  • Chris Baker January 8, 2016, 7:39 am

    I will not comment on whether I carry or not. It’s no one’s business except my own. I will say that I believe the second amendment means EXACTLY what it says, the the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. If you have to ask permission, i.e., get a permit, that right has been infringed. If they can tell you where you can and where you cannot bear your arms, that right has been infringed. If they can tell you what kind of arms you can carry, that right has been infringed. What Jesus said about arms, at the time swords were pretty much state of the art, is this:
    Luke 22:35-38 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

  • Gene Hollon January 1, 2016, 10:48 pm

    Many individuals and many churches are now considering their position on being armed. I have been in Baptist churches for more than 75 years. In 2nd Timothy Chapter 5 verse 8 , says ” He that provideth not for his own, especially those of his own house, hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. A question arises. Is food,clothing and shelter sufficient? Should a loving father not also PROVIDE guidance,love, and PROTECTION?
    Another verse to consider is found in Luke ch 22 verse 36. These are the words of Jesus “If you do not have a SWORD, then sell your cloak and BUY A SWORD.” A sword , at that time, was considered the most effective weapon for self defense.
    Do these scriptures and common sense not convey to any intelligent person the absolute need for PERSONAL PROTECTION.?

  • B Diaz January 1, 2016, 9:34 am

    I have taught classes in churches for the last 6+ years. Probably over 150 training classes have taken place in different churches. Those are the safest churches ever. Getting a permit just means you are legal, and everyone who attended (AND CARRY IN CHURCH) gets more training as part of the church security playbook. Look what Ohio has done with their teachers, who attend additional training so they can carry in their schools (yes teachers).

    To oppose church-goers to carry in church, or to not allow classes in the church is bollocks (in the original British definition, not testicles) and amounts to leadership that clings to their past generation, denying change. Additionally, on the legal aspect, any security issue that can be forecasted (as in a church shooting) a plan must be set (in writing) by the churches, and a rehearsed playbook executed, to prevent it. That is part of their liability insurance requirements.

    I ask the leadership then since a church shooting can happen in any church (fact) produce the plan (which should already be in place) to prevent it. Submit the security plan that includes the emergency response team, the emergency response manager, to your congregation for their review. It must be 100% safe.

    Church goers, if not produced, contact the insurance company of the parish, so the insurance company gets that document or pulls the plug. BTW, this is not a document that can be quickly generated, as it must contain the dates of classes, recurrent training dates, attendees, background checks of church staff (especially those who take care of the children) while service is taking place, etc.

    Let’s put the safety response-ability back to the church leadership and see how they are going to secure their flock. For the record, solely relying on local law enforcement staff for your church safety has already been determined not acceptable. It’s been concluded that local police (or LE) is unable to provide full security protection to any institution for the prevention (as in ahead of time), also not part of their job. First responders arrive after the fact, which historically is too late. And paying for police presence is great for traffic management, but not for hostage negotiation or taking down an armed person who is already harming your church people.

    CHURCH LEADERSHIP-
    THIS IS AN ESSENTIAL MATTER, QUICKLY GET A PLAN IN PLACE. IT WOULD BE VERY DISTURBING TO LEARN THAT NOW YOU COUNT THE BODIES BECAUSE YOU LEFT YOUR CONGREGATION IN THE CROSSFIRE.

    I have been participating and developing the organization of churches’ security plans for years and have observed that 95% of them still don’t have one in place (a real one, not a Mickey Mouse one). It takes an outstanding amount of time, effort, change and know how to generate one, and most churches don’t have that to invest.

    There is a beginning point, contact your insurance company, they are very sensitive to the creation of these plans. You will quickly ascertain how irresponsible it would be not to have one, and discontinue the guidance of disallowing trained and licensed church people to carry.

    Disclaimer- I am not an attorney, this is my viewpoint on the matter after helping many organizations accomplish these congregational plans that provide the safest space to all their parishioners. As such, it is not legal advice.

  • Conrad Lingis December 30, 2015, 11:16 am

    If you refer to yourself as a “doubter,” yet you are still spending that much time in church, you are far from doubtful enough.

  • Doug Tally December 26, 2015, 5:37 pm

    The Pastor at my parish in Chicago posted ‘No Gun’ signs at every door of the church, rectory, school and food pantry/housing center. People of good will know the posting ‘No Gun’ signs is a ‘statement’ not a directive. Evil ones don’t take to being told what to do and that’s why I carry everywhere regardless of signs. I’m a former Detroit copper with an IL Retired Officer Concealed Carry (IROCC) permit issued by the IL State Police. All off-duty and retired coppers legally carry regardless of signs on private property. The good thing about that… in public, or on pivate property is our actions do not discriminate; we protect anti-gun rights folk same as any person of good will.

  • Jim Painter December 26, 2015, 9:17 am

    I, too, live in Georgia, and after the passage of the “Let the church decide” law was passed, I went to our Senior Pastor and asked if he opposed my carrying in church. He replied that I would be joining one Associate Pastor, and several ushers who already were carrying concealed. The next Sunday he saw me enter the church and winked at me and asked if I was carrying, and I nodded. Then just before he started the service he said that many churches and schools were soft targets, but not this one. He said there were several people in the congregation who were carrying and prepared to take action to protect the congregation if there was a San Bernardino incident, that the congregation did not need to know who they were, but he did and he knew where we were in the room, and that we were safer for it. I haven’t heard a single negative comment from the congregation concerning his statement.

  • Mr Bill December 25, 2015, 4:46 pm

    I bet most of you never heard Adolf Hitler saying if he only had one division of troops as disciplined as the Catholic clergy, he would indeed take over the world. They hang together. My concern, as Ben Franklin pointed out to his colleagues who got together to pen an FU note to the King of the Mightiest Nation on the sea, “If we don’t hang together, we suredly will hang separately.”

    The best metaphor for concealed carry I latched on to was how Jewish people of faith wear their yarmulkes. I’m not Jewish or religious, but the story goes they wear them as a part of their religion. They don’t try to hide them so much, as they conceal them as a private element of their faith. The proposition was put to me, that that is the appropriate way to carry. And that is what I do. I conceal, from everyone. I wouldn’t be patting my pocket knowingly to any of you, should we be friends at church together some day. It is my secret. My family knows I carry, and all know the signal and what to do if that weapon is going into service. But it’s no one else’s business.

    And I don’t have anything bad to say about anybody’s religious beliefs. I’m pretty sure none of my job description is to be a judge of you. I’m here to help and support you. If you are criminally focused, the “help” I may extend to you might be of a specific caliber, if you get my drift. But, yep, not me as the judge. I will do what I can, what I train to do. With my sincere best wishes to you.

  • Barbara December 25, 2015, 11:17 am

    As a CCW holder(after leaving the communist state of California), and a Christian for the last 30+ years, I carry 24/7. The ONLY time I go to have a weapon on my person, is when I’m sleeping….and then I have one very close by. My husband, NOT a gun person, USED to think I was getting a little paranoid however, in light of the events of the last few years and the further deterioration of our society as a whole he has come to appreciate the fact that his wife “has his back” and even asked me on one occasion if I had “my companion” with me, to which I replied of course when have you ever know me not too!!!

    In answer to you question about carrying at church, you bet your sweet King James I do…..that’s my sword and shield and the other is my earthly protector … If I was guessing, I’d say at least ½ our congregation of 350 people have active permits and would not hessiatate to defend every person in that church and our pastor if the need ever presented itself!!!

    • Dr. Bill Harvey (or Yes, Bro. Bill) December 31, 2015, 6:34 pm

      Dr. Bill Harvey,
      I certainly agree with you about CCW, my wife doesn’t like weapons but she knows that I do. Yes, I am born again since Oct. 12, 1958 about 6:30 PM in Fayetteville, NC. I have been preaching the KJV 1611 for over 46 years, and I have owned and carried for most of my life. I was a mean sinner before I got saved by the Grace of God. Born and raised in a Bootlegging home, so I was around crooked folks the most of my life, including cops, politicians, mayors, even preachers (LOST) of course. I have had a CCW license for over 25 years, even went with the Sheriff’s Dept. for my training after Uncle Sam, of course. I have been and preached in churches all over the SE and N, when as many as myself was the only carrier, 2-3 at times, 10-20 at other times and the majority at other times, also men and women.
      YES, I do believe in gun carry, but be legal. I still preach as often as I can, have pastored 3 churches and was interim at 2-3.
      God Bless YOU and others who read this comment who is protecting you, yours, and whosoever needs it, even neighbors and the Police if they need your help. DON’T FORGET, churches have been robbed at gunpoint in several states. Thank YOU.

      • Chris Baker January 8, 2016, 7:48 am

        I love this conversation. When I met my wife of 14 years, close to 15 now, one of the things that really attracted me to her was that she owned as many firearms as I did.

  • Jimmy December 25, 2015, 10:58 am

    ALL of the Elders at our church and many of the members (men and women) have their CCW. Most will carry at church services and activities. I am confident we will present a strong, armed resistance to anyone who would choose to present themselves as a threat to our congregation.

  • Donald Wilson December 25, 2015, 6:53 am

    I’ve been carrying for years when I go to church. Statistics show there’s quit a few shootings that happen there although I’m not sure why. Seems like going to church brings out the brotherly love and gives most people that warm fuzzy feeling during and afterwards. What I do know is I’m not going to be a victim of some nut job nor is the people in that church with me!! If someone is looking for help to get to hell, I’ll oblige !!

  • BRASS December 11, 2015, 1:16 pm

    There are only two places I willingly go and do not carry.
    One is a military base where I go weekly but am prevented by federal law from even having a firearm locked away and not accessible while in the vehicle if entering any federal reservation. This is particularly egregious as that means I can’t even take my CC piece with me when I leave the house. Unfortunately my chosen place for services is the base chapel.
    The only other place I am willing to enter without my carry piece is my credit union, but I leave it locked inside my car while inside and so am armed at all other times and locations after leaving home.

    • Robert March 25, 2016, 9:34 pm

      The Post Office is another place we can’t even have a firearm left in our vehicles. So, we either park across the street or carry there anyways. If a citizen is carrying, but not using such weapon in a criminal manner, why is it forbidden? I carry everywhere regardless, except a courtroom, or airport secured areas. Otherwise, who will know if you carry concealed? I carry in Hospitals too, Doctors offices, dentists offices, City Hall here is legal, as long as we don’t go to the court room floor. Tennessee. And we can carry in places that serve alcohol, as long as the carrier is not consuming any alcohol.

  • Daniel December 4, 2015, 7:54 pm

    I carry at Church and every where I go it is my responsibility to protect my family and loved ones from harm That is first, that responsibility trumps any and all signs the only place I will give in is at Government buildings.
    It has been proven that “Gun Free Zones” are just a target gallery. Who ever come up with that idea needs to be neutered if male and spayed if female. They do not need to spread their gene pool any farther.
    Kenesaw GA. Requires the head of household to own a weapon and ammunition for the weapon. They have a low crime rate.
    This is the only gun law that I know of that works.

  • Blair December 4, 2015, 7:03 am

    As the Body of Christ all Christians have a part to be. I believe it is mentioned on several occasions in the bible

    1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.
    Ephesians 4:1 [ Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ ] As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
    Ephesians 4:12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
    1 Corinthians 12:26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

    There are those called to be the hands and feet,they know it and respond by going as missionaries to bring the knowledge of Christ, this mission can and does start the minute one walks out the door and does not require travel to a distant land but can happen at any time in ones every day walk right where they are , home, work, school, shopping, gun range, wherever !

    As a Christian if one were well equipped, as in trained and armed, to be of service to his brothers and sisters in their defense ,at what point would one who was called to be the part of the body known possibly as the trigger finger, I guess, ever be looked down upon when protecting others,especially at church or wherever ? I would call that brother or sister a Godsend an angel a saint. And as I do not have my concealed carry permit yet and won’t carry without it I would invite and welcome that armed church-goer if they were to walk through the door to attend service at my church!

    • AL March 18, 2016, 12:52 pm

      Having a CCW and being in Church implies that you will use it in defense of a life threatening attack upon yourself or others.
      Is the attacker(s) brandishing and threatening, as in a robbery, or are they intent on killing or doing great bodily harm? If it is a robbery then I would not immediately respond with force but if the attackers were assaulting my brothers/sisters that would be the trigger point to prepare for battle.
      There is always the possibility that the defender will be wounded or killed. I rely on the comforting words of Yashua if that happened to me.>>
      John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

  • Victor December 1, 2015, 12:49 pm

    I am not a church goer by no means but The Friar of this church is VERY well written and I would be attending his sermons if I lived near him every sunday.

  • BRASS November 30, 2015, 5:26 pm

    Federal law prevents possession of privately owned firearms aboard any federal reservation (military base, etc.) so I can’t, otherwise I would unless explicitly posted not to.
    The only location I don’t go armed are military bases as you can’t even have a weapon unloaded and locked in a remote part of the vehicle. Zero possession on board the base is the rule.
    Anywhere else that is prohibited like my credit union, post office, etc., I can still leave the weapon locked in my vehicle.
    As a rule, with that single exception of the base, if I can’t go armed when I leave the house, I don’t go.

    • Chris Baker January 8, 2016, 8:00 am

      And that situation is really sad. Back in the 1980’s, I was a member of the Point Mugu Gun club and we went out to monthly pin shoots on the base. It was great fun and I believe a majority of the members, while affiliated with the navy in some way, were not “in” the navy. I was a friend of a member of the club and we never had a problem. Later, in the 1990’s I worked at Edwards AFB and was also a member of their gun club and brought my guns on base to go to the shooting range. When asked at the gate for my id badge and if I had any weapons I always answered with a cheery “Yes”. Of course I always got asked why and if I was authorized but no one ever actually checked other than asking for my club card. It’s sad that things have changed so much. I heard recently that the gun club at Point Mugu was gone, and I have no idea about Edwards.
      If it was up to me, as Commander in Chief, I’d order that EVERY military person would be issued and would wear as part of their uniform, at least a handgun, and that everyone would practice at least once a month.

  • Don from CT November 27, 2015, 10:28 pm

    Always.
    I have a moral and ethical obligation to do everything I can to protect my children, my wife, and myself. The day a “no guns” sign goes up on my church is the day I find another church.

    Don

  • Dan May 7, 2015, 6:37 pm

    I carry ALL the time when its legal. (Have forgotten and carried into my Credit Union a time or two.) I do this not because I am paranoid, but even here in Montana, one never knows when a dangerous creature may threaten themselves or other innocent, potential victims. It is a very inexpensive insurance policy and does not hurt anyone other than the predator.

    Is it disrespectful? I dont feel so. Even Christ himself was an advocate of self defense and he stated in Luke 22:36 concerning defense of crime, and also in Matthew 10:34 in the defense of evil in the world. (Such as the muslim terrorists that are waging a war on all people who have beliefs other than their own.)

    Those who can, but will not defend themselves or other innocents are not following Christ’s command to love thy neighbor and treat others as you would have yourself treated. (Want to be treated.) We have men with guns* that we want to defend us, can we do no less for ourselves if physically possible?

    *Our Police and Soldiers.

  • Rabbi Jacob May 6, 2015, 9:19 pm

    I’m the rabbi of a small synagogue (am I allowed to comment?) in a rural area in the northeast. I carry in the synagogue (and everywhere I’m legally allowed to do so), as do a number of my congregants. I’m a firm believer in Leviticus 19:16 being interpreted as reference to defending the lives of the innocent.

    • Administrator May 6, 2015, 10:46 pm

      You are only allowed to comment if you put on tfillin today.

      • Chris Baker January 9, 2016, 10:56 am

        I attempted to look up “tfillin” and was unable to find it. Was it a typo or is there something special about that word?

        • Chaplain Rich March 8, 2016, 7:09 am

          Tefillin (Askhenazic: /ˈtfɪlᵻn/; Israeli Hebrew: [tfiˈlin], תפילין) also called phylacteries (/fɪˈlæktəriːz/ from Ancient Greek φυλακτήριον phylacterion, form of phylássein, φυλάσσειν meaning “to guard, protect”) are a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, which are worn by observant Jews during weekday morning prayers. Although “tefillin” is technically the plural form (the singular being “tefillah”), it is loosely used as a singular as well.[1] The arm-tefillin, or shel yad, is placed on the upper arm, and the strap wrapped around the arm/hand, hand and fingers; while the head-tefillin, or shel rosh, is placed above the forehead. The Torah commands that they should be worn to serve as a “sign” and “remembrance” that God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt.

          The scriptural texts for tefillin are obscure in literal meaning. For example, Deuteronomy 11:18 is one of the standard texts referenced as supporting the obligation, but does not designate what specifically to “bind upon your arm,” and the definition of totafot between your eyes is not obvious. It is the Talmud, the authoritative oral tradition for Rabbinic Judaism, which explains what are to be bound to the body and the form of tefillin.[2]

  • Dcow777 May 3, 2015, 6:23 pm

    I do believe that the Catholic Bishop is looking towards lawsuits for anything happening with a gun on or in a church or it’s properties. Some lawyers look at the Catholic Church and see “deep pockets”. Many corporations or companies do the same thing; that way if anyone uses a gun on their property for any reason they can pull out their written “No Guns” policy and try to avoid liability.
    It’s about money most of the time. Not 100% of the time but usually.

  • Richard May 3, 2015, 5:11 pm

    If Jesus was a pacifist, why did He say this?

    Luke 22: 36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
    37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’[b]; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
    38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

    “That’s enough!” he replied.

    Why was Peter packing, when he cut off the soldier’s ear in the garden? Seems like Jesus knew he was packing.

  • Pastor Dave May 3, 2015, 4:57 pm

    I approve of carrying in Church. ~ Pastor Dave

  • Obie May 1, 2015, 2:56 am

    Yes, I carry in church. I carry every day and almost everywhere I go. And I think “gun free zones” are a joke. You know what they say, if you need a parachute and don’t have one you will never need a parachute again! And of course its the same with a concealed weapon. There are some in my church family who know I and my wife carry including my pastor who, along with his wife, also carries. I don’t believe I have it in me to be the shepherd but I know I’m not one of the sheep. I consider myself to be a sheep dog, protecting the flock and following the shepherds direction. Don’t like guns? You can still protect yourself. At hoe keep several cans of wasp spray handy. One in the kitchen, on your night stand, where you watch TV. That stuff is as good as mace and easier to get. You probably have a selection of knives, keep one handy. A small fire extinguisher can be swung toward the head or torso and its enough to knock someone down. Hot liquid to the face or a stiff knitting needle to the eye will stop the attack. Don’t panic… think! You can defend yourself!

  • Mark April 30, 2015, 11:30 pm

    Well hey, you need to protect yourself somehow. After what it did to poor job, I wouldn’t trust god for protection.

    • Chris Baker January 9, 2016, 11:05 am

      You’ve missed the entire point of Job’s problems and trials. For being faithful in the face of adversity he is an example of how to be faithful to all Christians forever. His rewards in heaven will be marvelous to behold. This life may seem long at times and troubles abounding but in reality it is very short and will end soon. People who do not repent their sins will be cast into the lake of everlasting fire at their own choice. Troubles and adversity here in this short lifetime isn’t even a candle flame compared to a raging forest fire when compared to eternity in Hell. The song “Amazing Grace” has the lines “When we’ve been here ten thousand years we’ve only just begun” also applies to the sinners time in Hell.

  • Joe McHugh April 30, 2015, 6:24 pm

    It never fails. The liberal anti-gun people and other wrongheaded citizens think that by keeping guns as far away as possible, they will be safer. These people never stop to think that a firearm never killed anything by itself. In reality, it is the human being that misuses a gun, or allows an unsuitable person to gain access to it, that deserves the blame in gun-related injuries and deaths. News flash! A firearm requires a finger to operate its trigger.

    The reason that some people try to limit the carrying of guns is that it is far easier than trying to control human behavior. Let’s say that 98% of all adults are competent, law-abiding citizens who could be trusted with firearms after appropriate training. Naturally, all gun regulations and restrictions should be focused on the remaining 2% of the adults who would misuse firearms. You know, violent felons and those adjudged to be dangerous psychotics.

    Trust is the real issue here. The anti-gun people simply don’t trust ANY of their fellow Americans with ANYTHING that could be used to cause mayhem. A kitchen carving knife could be just as deadly as a gun. Dead is dead no matter what tool is employed to cause the deed.

    Let’s turn the argument around. Those that distrust their neighbors, neighbors who have no criminal record and are mentally competent, are themselves unworthy of the inherent rights inscribed in the Bill of Rights. Such people are pluperfect automatons who show no intelligence and ask no questions of their masters, the liberal elite. It’s almost as if these distrustful “citizens” project their own feelings of inadequacies onto the rest of us.

    Sadly, only a single vote in two recent Supreme Court of the United States decisions, determined that gun ownership was an individual right. Four liberal minded justices would have allowed ANY anti-gun law to be passed by ANY level of government. Those four justices are actually empowered to decide the legality of legislation according to their own interpretation of the Constitution. That really speaks to their character and their suitability to decide cases that impact on the inherent rights of all of us. Think of it, these four “justices” could very well decide that the First Amendment was a collective right of the government and not the individuals! You can almost predict their justification. “The population of America has become too large to permit the destabilizing speech of citizens or organizations who don’t agree with the “leaders” in Washington, D.C. What was tolerable in 1789, fails to address the realities of the 21st Century.”

    Call me crazy but I think that there are at least five or six Americans who suspect that the government at every level is out of control. Worse, such citizens are even beginning to question the viability of American liberty as time goes by.

    And we are now discussing issues in a circular logic fashion. The privately owned rifle is a symbol of liberty. We have now witnessed a President who sought legislation to register “dangerous” firearms. A dangerous firearm, in a liberal politicians mind, is ANY gun that could be used to enable a citizen to maintain his or her independence from an abusive government. Yup, we are back to the main reason that the Founding Fathers inscribed the Second Amendment into the Bill of Rights. When you hear a politician, even a Republican, argue for gun control, understand that he or she is really arguing for the control of the people.
    Cliche’ time, “Fear the government that fears your firearm.”

  • PudbertSavannahGA April 30, 2015, 5:07 pm

    God said “there is Evil in the world”…

    Soooo, when did he say “but it isn’t in Churches” ? ? ?

  • Katonator April 30, 2015, 4:00 am

    One of the Bible verses I have lived by is Matt 10:16+ while working in this SoCal Church as an Elder/Pastor and while working a full-time secular job. I’m more of a practical guy and use this verse to remind me to be discerning when working with people, mostly men. Because we are a front line recovery church we get people from all walks of life that attend church. Some still on drugs while they attend church, some just getting out of prison for just about every crime you can think of, some still struggling with why God dealt them a crapping hand of cards. None are required to be Believers to attend. We also have innocent infants, children,youth and young adults, married folks, and elderly we call “normies” that attend regularly. Then there are people that get pissed off with God and God’s people who come to service or some time during one of the weekly meetings to raise unnecessary havoc. The leaders of the church know we are have allowed these “wolves in sheep clothing” to be on church property amongst the recovering and “normies” because God can and has done great miracles with these people (actually with all people). These are the people I have sworn to protect my family and the congregation from.
    I received my CCW (Carry Concealed Weapon permit) recently unbeknownst to anyone but Leadership. We know Jesus wants us to be prepared in season and out of season on all levels, not just Spiritually. We want to make sure that people who do come have a safe refuge to inspire change. Yet, I have had many encounters at church with “wolves”, especially in the late hours, where I needed to defuse the hostility immediately before things got worse. Just as they teach us in church leadership classes and CCW training. In fact, Jesus often defused situations by rebuking a person or group of people. In most cases I rebuke people and the situation dissolves almost immediately. But I know that if the situation got worse where my words were not effective (Matt 7:6 – like the swines trampling pearls in the mud) I would have to resort to using stronger measures, leaving the firearm as the last resort. Because I have been well trained Spiritually, Mentally, Physically, and Emotionally, I believe I am well prepared and equipped to handle all situations. PTL. One more thing, my Pastor always says he loves Ministry if it wasn’t for the people, meaning ministry is tough because we are in the people business. I think its tougher than working in the secular world. Why would I carry a handgun in the world but not at church? Thank God for our Founding Forefathers who gave us this great nation under God with the freedoms that we have because of our second amendment rights!

  • Mark April 29, 2015, 2:13 pm

    I went shooting with my pastor and another member a couple years ago. The pastor asked if I had my CHL. Yes I replied, to which he said “Then I encourage you to carry in church”. I think mainly because I (and a few other of the congregants who carry) would be closer to the entrance than he. Yes, he carries while he is preaching and I see nothing wrong with that. Yes Jesus talked of peace and loving your neighbor and all that but his father also was pretty clear on where His people should stand on justice and protection of the innocent.

  • Robert April 28, 2015, 5:53 pm

    Just a note. I am 81 years of age and have always assumed I have the right to defend myself and my family. I have had a CCW the last 10 years and I carry whenever I am out in public. Everywhere. No one knows if I am carrying as I have developed clothing, etc that hides it. I also have different weapons to use in different places. I used to carry a revolver when I took my kids camping in national parks. The rangers never knew was armed. It was none of their business. I do carry in my church (now the third one I do so) and am committed that no one is going to injure or kill any of my brethren if I can help it. Consider this. ISIS or whoever wants to kill us has threatened they will start doing so in the near future. I have told people I know that you can expect it in places where there is signage stating “no weapons.” This would included schools, churches and shopping malls. They are not interested in small murders they will hit where they can cause the most deaths/ damage. So if you want to go mall shopping unprotected that is your choice. Think of all the places they have hit worldwide. That will be their targets. Beware be vigilant!

  • al April 28, 2015, 12:24 pm

    Our catholic church has never made a statement one way or
    another. As an usher I ALWAYS carry. I urge all my friends
    to do the same. I look and see at every mass where they are.
    I keep scanning entrances all thru mass. I often “PAT” my
    friends to check. IF my church comes out against carry I
    will look for another. God Bless.

  • Jack April 28, 2015, 2:52 am

    I’m another “no gun, no go” guy. Here in WV I suspect our churches are well “heated”.

  • Mike Cornett April 28, 2015, 1:54 am

    The only guy I know, for sure, that carries a pistol to church is an FBI Agent. Seattle, Wash. area.
    I know I don’t. But I do carry, 100% of the time, a device that enhances my ability to really hurt someone
    when I slug them.

  • Tina April 28, 2015, 12:36 am

    In Virginia, it is illegal to carry during church services. I don’t like it, but I obey the law so I can continue to carry where it is legal to do so.

    • John Chinn November 28, 2015, 12:29 pm

      §18.2-283: To a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place, without good and sufficient reason. (See special notes): Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has published an opinion stating that while it is unlawful under Virginia law to possess firearms in a place of worship or religious meeting absent “good and sufficient reason,” in his opinion, “carrying a weapon for personal protection constitutes a good and sufficient reason under the statute.” [Opinion No. 11-­â€�043–April 2011]. Tina, the truth shall set you free…. To carry on within the law.

      • Chris Baker April 4, 2016, 9:55 pm

        To which I reply, the law is clearly unconstitutional. “…The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” How is telling you you can’t carry it somewhere not an infringement?

  • Dennis C April 27, 2015, 10:00 pm

    I’ve carried daily since 1979. Everywhere. Church, college, work, whatever.
    1. I don’t plan to have a wreck, but I have insurance.
    2. I don’t expect a fire, but I have fire insurance.
    3. All businesses are required to have fire extinguishers posted by Life Safety Code.
    4. Go on a cruise, lifeboat and life vests are available. 1st item of business: lifeboat drill.
    I’m not crazy, just practical.
    I taught a NRA Basic Pistol Class (I’m a certified instructor) for Wednesday Night Small Group ( I live in Alabama).
    If no one knows your carrying, there isn’t a problem. If you are required to use your gun, you might get scolded, fired or run off but you might just be thanked. You can get another job, church or whatever and you won’t be plagued by “if I only had…”.

  • Don Smith April 27, 2015, 9:29 pm

    Not only do I carry concealed at our church services and functions, but there are a number of other members that carry as well. In fact, almost monthly for the last two or three years we have allowed our building to be used for a Concealed Handgun License class. We keep thinking that soon all of Amarillo, Texas will be armed, but they keep coming.

  • Jack April 27, 2015, 8:41 pm

    I also carry in church. I believe it is better to be proactive than reactive. A lot can happen in a few seconds or minutes. As I told my governor when CCW was being debated “I wouldn’t need to carry if I had a police officer with me at all times”. No response.

  • A. G. McEntire April 27, 2015, 8:13 pm

    I’ve been in law enforcement for more than 35 years. If people knew how many people were attacked and killed in church they would never attend church without being well trained and armed. My rule is ” no gun, no go” period, no exceptions, ever, for any reason. Would I change church’s ? Yes. Even if I were the priest? Yes. God’s gift of life to me is the 2nd best gift I have received from Him. My salvation being the greatest gift. I urge everyone to be well trained and well armed at all times. America’s second amendment kept the Japanese from attacking our mainland during WWII. A well trained and armed congregation will keep the people in church just as safe. Fr. Fride has some very serious decisions to make. After reading his well thought out article I am sure he will make the correct decision. Thank you and God Bless America.

  • Darrell April 27, 2015, 7:14 pm

    I’ve carried for a number of years, and to quote a friend who also attends the same church, “what is they don’t understand about concealed?”

    Not once has anyone, “made” me.

    I’m carrying as I type this, having returned for a run to town for eye appointments today. I was carrying when I left the house, continued when I went to the lumber yard and then on to lunch with the wife and haven’t yet switched to the open carry on my belt since I arrived home.

    Carry in an ankle rig and will continue to do so until I find a better way. Maybe a quality leather fanny pack?.?.?.

    Yes, what is it they don’t understand about concealed carry?

  • James R April 27, 2015, 7:10 pm

    Yes, since before 2005

  • dancin bill April 27, 2015, 6:08 pm

    i know many pastors who do not want guns in their churches but as was pointed out God told us to always be prepared.
    discussing carrying with the pastor is the first step but i the pastor says no and you are determined to carry then rather than causing problems i would find a church that fits my needs as long as it teaches Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved.

  • celtsrevenge April 27, 2015, 2:52 pm

    This article is both timely and enlightening. I have carried my weapon to church for years. My Parish, however, just implemented a no gun policy for the Church grounds. A “Preparedness Ministry” (“committee”) was organized (without publicity, or an opportunity to join, or give input), and the committee decided that CCW citizens could not exercise good judgment in the use of their firearms. The committee further determined that the presence of legally possessed and concealed firearms poses a greater threat to safety than the imposition of a gun free zone. The committee assured everyone in the Parish that, in consultation with former and present law enforcement personnel, and homeland security types, they have developed a plan, although they gave no hint as to what that plan might be. So, as it stands, I must either leave my firearm at home and revel in the security of a gun free zone, or disregard the edict and carry anyway. I am uncomfortable with the former, and even more so with the latter. The reasoning the committee also used was that the carrying of a firearm is inconsistent with the Church’s theology. I guess I have some very difficult decisions to make. I doubt the powers that be will reconsider the position, so I may have to find another venue in which to receive my spiritual bread and drink. I guess they have not come to grips with the concept of God given rights embodied in the Second Amendment, although they are very adept at picking my pocket when it comes to passing the plate. I find it hard to fathom that people in a church community can be so blind to the realities and danger that Christians face today.

  • Xavier April 27, 2015, 2:30 pm

    Very interesting. However, two years ago our Catholic Parrish, St. James, in Ogden, UT, was the scene of an attempted murder during a Sunday morning mass when a frustrated son-in-law walked in and shot, attempting to kill, his father-in-la in the head. The father-in-law survived. The gunman turned and ran out of the church pursued by several parishioners and was actually caught before hurting anybody else.

    No one happened to be carrying in church that day and I’m not really certain that a concealed permit holder could have reacted in time to do anything, but I guarantee a lot of parishioners carry in church today and our priest probably wouldn’t react negatively if he know someone was.

    So stuff does, indeed, happen in churches and I carry as well, while scrutinizing everybody who comes in late.

  • Larry April 27, 2015, 2:21 pm

    Besides MJF being a foolish atheist, I’ve really enjoyed this article & the comments. I say carry everywhere & carry 24/7 & be safe out there, my friends!

  • c April 27, 2015, 1:58 pm

    The Apostle Peter (the supposed first Pope) carried a concealed weapon… and used it to defend the Lord Jesus on the eve of His crucifixion:
    “Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?””
    (John 18:10–11 ESV)

  • Irish-7 April 27, 2015, 1:13 pm

    I’ve been an usher in a Roman Catholic church since 1985. I’ve had a Concealed Carry Permit since 1986, but did not bring a weapon into church until the Sunday after 9/11. After the initial procession to open the Mass, I do a “walk through” of the entire church. I look in every pew, the Confessionals, behind flower stands, under the organ and piano. In 13.5 years of making these security checks, I only had 2 people question “What are you looking for?”. I just replied “Unattended baggage”. The first parish member to ask me that question never returned. I took it that she was afraid that I knew of a specific threat. The second one just shook his head and scoffed, like I was a fool. I admit, the odds of a terrorist incident at my parish are pretty slim. However, I am handling thousands of dollars during the collections, so being armed is not so unreasonable!

  • TPSnodgrass April 27, 2015, 12:58 pm

    In the state where I currently live, my faith has posted on the state’s CCW website, that members are not allowed to CCW legally at church or on the property. However, the MOST anyone can do is to ask you to leave the property, or put the firearm away. They cannot bring legal charges against you at all.
    So, the adults i our family carry for OUR personal protection. Churches, schools, shopping malls are ALL soft targets of opportunity for the various groups of predators seeking to destroy the western civilization.
    We will not be victims or martyrs. That is OUR choice and OUR freedom. If the Marxist/Progs want to “negotiate” with terrorists and violent ideological-driven individuals, so be it. We won’t.
    I feel quite comfortable with my personal choice of worshiping and exercising all of my God-Given Constitutional Rights, much to the anger of the current Administration and its’ disciples. Toofreakingbad for them.

  • Richard April 27, 2015, 12:49 pm

    I always ‘church carry’, as well as several of our members and the most of the security group known as ‘The Gatekeepers’. There are no prohibitions posted. A number of the Gatekeepers know I carry and it is a non-issue.
    Actually an evangelical church is on the short list for a deranged and/or dedicated attacker to show up. Handguns are just tools, in evil hands they are quite dangerous. Handled properly with diligence they are an effective deterrent against violence. I am quite comfortable knowing that there are brothers and sisters in arms present should need arise.

  • Jack April 27, 2015, 12:36 pm

    I too carry everywhere with a CCW license. As I said to a supermarket manager when the sign banning guns from the store was put up “If I can’t protect myself in an armed robbery I will grab the closest employee for a shield”. Two weeks latter the sign was gone. As long as the sign was there I did don enter that store. It is there option as to decide if they want my business. I tell this to all my CCW friends.

  • James April 27, 2015, 12:07 pm

    My church has an Emergency Response Team of retired, ex & active duty law enforcement officers, retired ex & active duty security officers and ex-military. All are listed with the pastor and all carry a concealed handgun to church. All E.R.T. members try to be seated in various sections of the church during service. None of us stand out in any way. Also the church has a screen which will flash E.R.T. & a code indicating an area where a member should check for security reasons. This flash is in very small print and most people don’t even see it at the bottom of the screen.
    All churches should be willing to protect it’s members, visitors and pastor. Any Church, Bishop or Pastor that is against conceal carry should remember 9 11 and the Boston bombings. They should also look at all the Christian churches overseas
    that are being bombed or shot up by terrorists. Let’s all pray it won’t happen to our churches in America.

  • Marvie April 27, 2015, 12:01 pm

    The fellow that taught my CCDW class was minister, and several years ago he made the local news by having a “Bring Your Gun to Church Day”. I liked his attitude! I attend a large Christian church where I live and it is acceptable to carry there, and I do, as well as several others. In addition to that I am a member of the “Choir Boys Gun Club” …not affiliated by the church, but it exists anyway!

  • Sam April 27, 2015, 11:52 am

    Hello everyone. As a Christian, I pack at church and I pack heavy. There are many forms of loving your neighbor and one of those is the willingness to go into harms way to protect those who cannot or will not because they think it won’t happen to them. Christian churches now have a big giant bulls eye on them more than ever and I am a firm believer that this is one of the major targets being considered by terrorists.

    The real world means that no matter what, if a church is attacked by terrorists, there are those who will be hurt or killed……period. If there are those who carry in church, the percentage of those who will be hurt or killed can be drastically reduce or initially stopped. Even if it is one life that is saved………that is one life that is saved.

    There is this foolishness in churches these days that somehow Jesus was a pacifist. To not protect those who would otherwise be killed or severely hurt is the foolishness. No need to advertise you’re armed either folks…….keep it between you and the Lord.

    I carry:
    Taurus PT111 Millennium Pro in 9mm with a 12 round mag +1 in the pipe
    ArmaLaser TR11 sight
    Two more 12 round mags
    CRKT M16-14DSFG lock blade

    May God give you wisdom in the days ahead in Jesus Name.
    Sam

  • Ray April 27, 2015, 11:48 am

    A discussion came up on one of the local gun boards here in FL. It seems that church’s which have schools on the same grounds are subject to NO CARRY IN A SCHOOL LAWS. THE CHURCH BUILDING AND SCHOOL BUILDS ARE NOT SEEN UNDER THE LAW AS SEPERATE. For this reason right or wrong I never go to a church with has a school and I am not talking about Sunday school. There are some very anti gun DAs out there who will look to charge you with anything.

  • Gerry April 27, 2015, 11:44 am

    I’m a Roman Catholic and I Carry at every Mass & Church event.
    I live in “Today’s” World. Hatred of Catholics, and people is the Norm these days !
    I am a member of the Flock but I’m Not a Sheep !!

  • (Please withhold my name) April 27, 2015, 11:21 am

    Several years ago I pastored a west Texas church. Not long after being appointed there I was told a woman employee who was Many years ago I was appointed to a Texas church. The first week I was told of a woman church employee who was married, Many years ago I was appointed to a Texas church and was told a married female employee of the church was purportedly having an affair with a married man and he (unidentified) was also a church member. The week I heard of this affair I was told the husband of the woman employee was intent on revenge. The next Sunday I had a deputy sitting in his duty car in the parking lot. At that time Texas didn’t have CHL’s available. However on the shelf of the pulpit was my .38 S&W. Why? Protection of the congregation. Fortunately there was no incident and no one ever knew what I had in the pulpit.
    (Name withheld)

    • Celtsrevenge April 27, 2015, 2:08 pm

      Please proof read your posting before hitting the send button.

  • Doc Loch April 27, 2015, 11:17 am

    I believe in the right to personal property and the free exercise in and of it. I also believe in the right to defend person, people and property from violence. I believe that the latter is prime and cannot be abdicated nor delegated. Even a child has this responsiblility in the end. So, while the first can be moved, the second cannot be. If God had intended a world without violence, he would never have cast Satan here. Had he intended his followers to be disarmed, then why was Israel under most of the prophets armed to the teeth even when God was fighting with them. Anyone who determines that their property is to be devoid of persons who would carry a weapon, or who suggests that guests should not have the choice to defend or provide for their own defense, is saying that they guarantee the safety of said persons on their property. This makes them responsible, culpable, liable and in every way answerable to the consequences of said decision. Morality demands this, even when law does not, and morality must always trump law, or misery has prevailed, and injustice is the rule. When this latter circumstance is prevalent, or has prevailed a society is ripe for destruction and will succumb, unless good people rise up. I choose to be responsible and since it is my right, I must weigh that right against anything, be it law or policy and the chances of being happier in the one case or the other, and more so will my family and all of society be happier because of my choice. Since I cannot make choices for others I must choose myself. I choose to assert my rights based on these criteria regardless of what any individual or group might think, say, enact, determine, proceed or adjure.

    • John P. O'Donnell April 27, 2015, 4:45 pm

      Well said…well thought…well writ, and God bless you and yours…Semper Fi, Doc Loch.###

  • Ed C. April 27, 2015, 10:45 am

    I carry in church so I won’t have to be carried out of church; in the event some nut job goes: Berserker or Insane Ninja during a worship service. Nuff said, about why. What do I carry – 22TCM Commander sized 1911 with 18+1 capacity one spare 18 round magazine.

  • Robert April 27, 2015, 10:25 am

    i agree that no Parrish is an island unto itself and must abide by the rules laid dowm by the Church. That said, I would not attend your Church Services.

  • Nobody Special April 27, 2015, 10:16 am

    Let us not forget that when Jesus was getting ready to depart, He told his disciples that if they had two tunics to sell one and buy a sword. That sword was not to be placed over the fireplace to admire. It was for defense and offense. Too many Christians have become milk toast. David was a warrior and GOD Almighty called him a man after His own heart.

    • Ed C. April 27, 2015, 10:47 am

      Amen.

  • Craig Guarnieri April 27, 2015, 10:01 am

    Being a cradle to (someday) grave catholic. I am a supporter of Fr. Fride’s position. Furthermore, I appreciate him bringing this topic up in a much more broader sense, for open discussion.

    Thank you

  • Johnny April 27, 2015, 9:54 am

    Yes!

  • Darren Elmore April 27, 2015, 9:39 am

    Don’t forget! – If you are truly a believer in God’s word, you are the body of Christ!
    When Jesus protects someone, He will most likely use His body to do so !!!

    • Freddy April 28, 2015, 11:25 am

      Very good. I like that.

  • Stephen Rohner April 27, 2015, 9:26 am

    Raised a Christian I am a Christian I will most likely turn turn other cheek for myself. But the Bible states we must protect the week the fatherless and the ones that can not protect themselves, therefor I carry whenever and wherever .

  • Les Williamson April 27, 2015, 9:23 am

    Considering the current war on Christians why would we all not be armed to protect and defend ourselves?

    • MJF April 27, 2015, 9:47 am

      You feel a need to be armed in church, to protect yourself from the very evil, that your God created. Ironic.

      • Jer April 27, 2015, 11:46 am

        God did not create evil. He created us with free will. He could not have created us and the angels with the capacity to do good without creating the capacity and possibility that we would do evil. He knew we would do some evil but he also knew that good will win out in the end. And it will. So, MJF, instead of complaining that God didn’t do a good job with creation, how about setting a course for yourself to do your part for the final victory of good.

        • Rich November 20, 2015, 11:11 pm

          Another ‘well said’ to you Jer!

  • Les Williamson April 27, 2015, 9:21 am

    Yes I do

  • Eric Mickley April 27, 2015, 9:19 am

    Father Fride is also Biblically correct, and this “Bishop” either has not read his scriptures, has misinterpreted them, or thinks he knows better than God and is enforcing his personal political position.
    “Because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace—and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with untempered mortar” –Ezekiel 13:10.
    “He who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” -Jesus Christ, Luke 22:36.
    “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace.” –Jesus Christ, Luke 11:21.
    “Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built.” -Nehemiah 4:17-18.
    “Blessed be the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle” –David, Psalm 144:1.
    “If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed.” –God, Exodus 22:2.
    “The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion.” –Solomon, Proverbs 28:1.
    “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” –Jesus Christ, John 15:13.

    • Mountain Man April 27, 2015, 10:35 am

      Amen, amen, brother.

      I received Christ as my Savior when I was a child, and my faith remains unwavering at 60. I have seen miracles. And like the rest of the world, I am now seeing Christians beheaded by psychopaths and lunatics. (And not vice-versa.) I also believe that faith goes hand in hand with action. I know those whose faith is so misguided that they would lay in bed and think, “If God wants me to go to work, He will dress me and start my car.”

      As stated in the Word, it is His will that none should perish (in hell). But millions will spend eternity there. So it is clear that there is a vast divide between His will and His plan – what He wants to happen, and what He knows will happen through the evil decisions and actions of man.

      I am certain that it is His will that no one would be murdered while they worship. And yet it happens.

      I carry in church. And despite any misguided sign directing me otherwise, I carry everywhere else, at all times; for evil is is no way swayed or restricted by signage, and I refuse to be in a situation where I’m thinking, “Dang, shoulda brought my gun…” especially in church.

    • Don R. April 27, 2015, 1:53 pm

      Excellent work Eric,
      Just a couple of more witnesses to Psalm 144:1
      Psalm 18:34 “He trains my hands for battle”
      2 Samuel 22:35 22:35 “He trains my hands for battle”
      After all, “Out of the mouth of two or three witness shall every word be confirmed.”

      • Renny April 28, 2015, 12:15 pm

        “Out of the mouth of two or three witness shall every word be confirmed.”????
        Can you quote book, chapter & verse for this please
        Thanks,

        • Mountain Man April 30, 2015, 1:37 pm

          2 Corinthians 13:1; see also Matthew 18:16

  • Robert April 27, 2015, 9:14 am

    Well, Dave, sounds to me like you’ve got a healthy attitude. I say, we should be able to carry anywhere—period. And yes, of course it can be argued that Jesus was nonviolent. So are we then saying that by carrying a gun we’re thereby promoting violence? Let’s all think about that, because it’s precisely this notion that anti-Second Amendment people are trying to foster. But it couldn’t be further from the truth. Which of us would walk into a church thinking, “Boy, I can’t wait to use my gun.” That’s simply ludicrous.” I think it’s about time that we, as Americans, grew up.

  • Carl April 27, 2015, 9:04 am

    Yes I do carry at church. Another thing I do is,I do not sit by enterances or exits. I always sit off to the right or left of those doors.

  • MIke S. April 27, 2015, 9:00 am

    Absolutely, I carry at every church function, just as I do nearly everywhere I go. The law in Texas says that if a church does not want CHL holders to carry on the premises, it must post a sign, just as required by any other establishment. Our church would not even think about posting such a sign anyway. It’s a small church, but we have around eight men and women who carry every day. We know who we are, and make note as to where we are sitting each day (usually the person sits near the same spot on Sunday). I’m sure that most of our flock is unaware of our presence as protectors, but a lot know, and only a newcomer or visitor would be surprised to discover that we are carrying.

  • MG April 27, 2015, 8:42 am

    Do I carry a gun at Church? Hell yes!

  • Al Mathies April 27, 2015, 8:29 am

    Jesus did not really preach pacifism.
    John:10 Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
    11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? Jesus did not berate Peter for carrying or even using his sword but said He had to fulfill His destiny.
    I think even the apostles knew in days where robbers and killers were about it was best to be armed.
    More Christians need to know about this verse and promote it.
    Psalm 82:4 Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked
    Is this Pacifism Luke 22:35-39 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.” 36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 “For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.” 38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” 39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him.
    As Christians we put our trust in Christ to do the right thing when the time comes. We do not have the charisma to walk through a large group of people wanting to stone us. However, if we have enough faith we could.

    • steve April 27, 2015, 10:38 pm

      and of course, matthew 10:34,

      “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.'”

      not that i believe in the bible, just adding to your point.

  • Tom Durfee April 27, 2015, 8:26 am

    I’m retired military, and retired Chief of Security and Director of Homeland Security for two state government agencies. I’ve spent my life standing between good people and bad things. If I’m dressed, I’m carrying. I was raised Catholic. While here in Georgia I’ve attended Catholic, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches with friends. I’ve carried, and will continue to carry, in each. The Presbyterian Minister is a woman and her husband carries (with her blessing) as does anyone in the congregation who wishes to do so. He and I have become friends and have spent range time together. I know several Baptist’s who carry in church but they’ve a new minister and I can’t certify he has given his approval. I know they still carry. Factually I do not know the local Catholic Churches position. I’ve never asked, primarily because I expect their answer would be “no”. I do not understand the Catholic penchant for “being a victim”. While all religions purport to be proponents of good in the battle between good and evil, many seem all too willing to send their warriors into battle armed only with prayer. I believe in prayer, but prayer backed up with actions predicated on supporting it, and protecting the prayer. Begs the question,what ever happened to the Shepherd taking care of, and protecting, the flock? When the wolves came the Shepherd had his staff, and sling and rocks, as did David when he slew Goliath. Today I conceal carry my “sling and rocks” to be ready if the wolves threaten or attack the sheep.

    • preacherblb January 13, 2016, 9:48 pm

      That makes you a sheepdog. WOOF!!

  • MJF April 27, 2015, 8:22 am

    Ye of little faith. You don’t need a gun in church…..Jesus will protect you, right?

  • Alberto H. Soto April 27, 2015, 7:54 am

    Last month in Puerto Rico, a Catholic Priest was attacked in the middle of his sermon by a homeless guy that was at the church. Luckily he was only armed with his fists but what if he had a knife or a gun. The Priest would be dead. I am not aware of the church gun policy here in Puerto Rico. I do not go that often, but when I do, I always have my God Blessed .45 with me !!!

    • Freddy April 28, 2015, 11:12 am

      I was not aware Puerto Rico allowed carry of fire arms.

      • Dwane December 26, 2015, 4:59 pm

        Puerto Rico is bankrupt (75 Billion$) so I’ve been told, so they can’t afford carry.

  • Daniel April 27, 2015, 7:51 am

    Jesus commanded his disciples to be armed–remember, their equivalent to a gun would be a sword (Luke 22:36). Scripture shows that even while being with Jesus, at least some of his disciples were armed–Peter cut off the soldier’s ear when they came to arrest Jesus. Then you can go through the Old Testament and see other examples as well. Jesus was NOT a pacifist, nor did he call us to be. There is a time for everything under heaven…see Ecclesiastes chapter 3. I think scripture clearly shows we have a God given right to carry, and I would go so far as to say we are commanded to. Just remember, one day, everyone of us, will have to answer to Him.

  • chaplain_jack April 27, 2015, 7:30 am

    It is my belief that every church should have a security team trained in the use of weapons and the appropriate tactics. Here in SC the church is allowed the decision on personal carry for those with a CWP.

    • TPSnodgrass April 27, 2015, 12:50 pm

      Agree 100%!

  • Todd Jaffe April 27, 2015, 6:12 am

    Our church has a security committee. There are 4 of us on the committee and we make sure we are armed every time we go to the church. Guns don’t kill people. Church going people are never the instigators of large numbers gun deaths. But crazies with an agenda like to target and churches are easy targets. In the time it would take the police to respond, many would be dead. But not if 2 people on opposite sides of a church are always vigilant.

  • Rangemaster 11 April 27, 2015, 5:28 am

    What would Jesus do? See what he told his disciples. Luke 22:36

    • Steve April 27, 2015, 7:24 am

      Amen, Brother.

    • TmarK April 27, 2015, 3:23 pm

      Jesus would probably tell them to “come out from among them…” and visit the Baptists down the street.

    • nwoods April 29, 2015, 9:55 pm

      Amen! Most of the disciples wore swords. How else could Peter have cut off that ear? If the disciples were armed, why not us? Here is an interesting article about the Bible and Gun Control: http://gunowners.org/fs9902.htm

    • Kevin May 3, 2015, 6:36 pm

      What Jesus DID: He used all of His power, everything at His disposal to accomplish the task, the goal that was set before him. If He hadn’t lived without sin, been tempted as a man, bled and died then resurrected-His goal would not have been accomplished-to save mankind from himself. He used ALL He had to complete His task… As His follower, I take the example He left and use EVERYTHING He has given me the ability to be, to serve, protect and defend the lives of people I love and people in my community. It’s ALL I have to give, and it’s how I can be Jesus to others. It’s not the task that God has given to everyone, but it’s the one he’s given to me.

    • Kevin May 3, 2015, 6:37 pm

      What Jesus DID: He used all of His power, everything at His disposal to accomplish the task, the goal that was set before him. If He hadn’t lived without sin, been tempted as a man, bled and died then resurrected-His goal would not have been accomplished-to save mankind from himself. He used ALL He had to complete His task… As His follower, I take the example He left and use EVERYTHING He has given me the ability to be, to serve, protect and defend the lives of people I love and people in my community. It’s ALL I have to give, and it’s how I can be Jesus to others. It’s not the task that God has given to everyone, but it’s the one he’s given to me.

  • DRAINO April 23, 2015, 11:18 am

    Wow! Great Letter. So the Bishop say Love thy brother but not enough to keep him from being murdered for a few dollars in the collection plate….hmmm. I wonder his thoughts about “am I my brothers keeper?” is. Very sad. Well the good thing is he part of the most convenient religion in the world….Catholicism….do whatever you want….just talk to some guy in a dark room afterwards and say a few prayers and all is good. Thank the Lord for our free country!

    • DRAINO April 25, 2015, 7:40 am

      ….and yes, I absolutely do carry while attending church services(in GA and anywhere else I may be traveling)….and most every place else. I attend church where there is a large number of elderly individuals who I respect and care for greatly…..older brothers and sisters, if you will. If the Lord gives me say in the matter…none of them will see death while attending where I do at the hands of an evil-doer, if I have any say in the matter. If the Lord chooses otherwise….that’s His prerogative. And when asked why?…I tell my brothers and sisters…”it is because I love you, that I carry”. Haven’t had a complaint or argument yet. In fact, I get the feeling that most of them like the idea.

    • Pete April 27, 2015, 7:36 am

      Yep, straight to the Catholic bashing.
      I will never understand it.

    • Peter Parkman April 27, 2015, 8:49 am

      Draino-
      Your lack of knowledge of the Catholic religion is obvious. That is NOT what the church allows. You CANNOT just go and ‘do what you want…then go into a dark room and be forgiven.’ It just doesn’t work that way and is a common misconception. It’s the other way around. The confessional or ‘dark room’ as you call it, is for forgiveness, but it doesn’t give you a blank check to just go out and do it all over again. You will not be forgiven if you’ve not sincere and are a ‘repeat offender’. Try doing your homework before making uninformed statements.

      • Blasted Cap April 27, 2015, 11:55 am

        That’s funny. Isn’t that what they have been doing with pedophile priests for years?

      • Mike April 29, 2015, 11:53 pm

        I believe everybody is missing the point here. The question I believe is do you carry in church. Not about your religious beliefs so we can bash everybody who doesn’t happen to be of my religious persuasion. I am not one of those who believe all roads lead to God but the question remains just that. Do you carry in church. Please do not use these forums to bash each other. We are not each other’s enemies. If the times get rougher in this country we are going to need each other to perhaps even survive. I would hate to have to rely on a neighbor for something who I just critically bashed to death over their religious beliefs.

        • Rich November 20, 2015, 11:03 pm

          Very well said Mike. You are absolutely right on us needing each other. So, I do not carry in church because I do not have my license yet. I also live in Georgia and my pastor has opened the subject up to several of us. We need to pursue this discussion further with him. Now y’all be good to each other, Y’hear?

    • steve April 27, 2015, 10:29 pm

      “Well the good thing is he part of the most convenient religion in the world….Catholicism….do whatever you want….just talk to some guy in a dark room afterwards and say a few prayers and all is good.”

      so…how is this different from any other christian denomination? actually, one could argue that as a protestant, you don’t even need to do that. as long as you believe in and accept jesus christ as your personal savior, you are fine. no works/rites/rituals/etc. required. actually, many protestants, especially baptists, believe in the idea that “once saved, always saved”, so even if you stop believing, you still go to heaven.

      • Chris Baker April 4, 2016, 9:47 pm

        Obviously you have misunderstood what it means to be a Baptist Christian. Yes, we believe that if you are truly saved you don’t go back to being unsaved but the thing is, we are supposed to emulate Jesus in everything we do. No hating, no mistreating others, no stealing, no murders, etc. If we fail to be like Jesus we are expected to repent again and do our best not to sin again. I said “if” but really it’s “when” because unlike Jesus we are not perfect. We are expected to be the best we can be. We are expected to do good works because we WANT to do them if we are truly saved. We are not required to do them. We are only required to love Jesus and to love our fellow man as we love ourselves. We are required to tell others about the good news. The word “Gospel” as in “spread the Gospel” means literally “good news. There is no one forcing any other to be a Christian. If anyone does try to force you they are NOT true Christians. God loves us so much that he gave us free will to choose on our own whether or not to follow his teachings. I made my choice. You are responsible for your choice (unlike Islam which would force you go choose Islam or death or Jizyah,) So do what you want, it’s your choice. But remember this, I love you and Jesus loves you.

  • Slim April 22, 2015, 8:14 pm

    I live in Georgia and HB 60 was signed into law by Govener Nathan Deal. this law allows churches to give permission to the Saints to pack heat. So if IS comes to behead us they better bring more than a knife to the fight. That’s why Christians are being beheaded in other country’s they don’t have a 2a.

    • Jim Isbell April 27, 2015, 11:51 am

      I carry, my Pastor knows it. I quoted from the Bible when I told him that I was carrying. I told him if trouble erupted, “Get thee behind me”

      • Fake Martin Luther December 4, 2015, 1:35 pm

        One of the members of my church got caught after he took his coat off at church and was told by one of the higher ups who was there to stop.

        We were never able to figure out if he meant carrying the pistol or taking his coat off.

        There were, at least, two others there that day with CCWs that were carrying. It is common knowledge. The higher up did not tell them to stop taking their coats off.

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