The NYT reported on the outrageous promotion offered by pastor Ken Pagano to his Louisville, KY congregation of the New Bethel Church: Bring Your Gun To Church Day. This special event "will include a $1 raffle of a handgun, firearms safety lessons and a picnic." Delightful!
Says the pastor: "I don’t see any contradiction in this. Not every Christian denomination is pacifist," and "God and guns were part of the foundation of this country."
I can hardly think of a more sacrilegious act than the shooting and murder of a man inside a Kansas church, unless it was the clergyman himself who was shot. A temple is meant to be a sanctuary, where people commune with each other and with God, and learn the lessons of scripture. It is used as a political instrument in every faith, to be sure. The Times claims that the New Bethel Church promotion is part of a larger anti-Obama backlash. That may be true, but that hardly justifies the juxtaposition of the Church and a deadly instrument of violence.
I studied to obtain a firearms safety license two years ago. I wanted to be comfortable in the handling of a firearm and possibly go out and hunt. I've fired weapons, and even enjoyed it. But I am too concerned about safety to allow guns in my house. I don't want one of my four sons misusing a gun with tragic ends.
That bears restating: I am too concerned about safety to allow guns in my house. This inverts the misguided belief most gun-toting Americans have about ensuring the safety of their loved ones.
According to the BBC, the early Christian church (pre-Constantine) was strongly pacifist. Some snippets from the Bible selected by Jim Foxvog in his online article, "Christian Pacifism is the Scriptural Position," affirm this stance:
“Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.” ( Mt 5.44 , Lu 6.27 , Lu 6.3 ) “Do not use force against an evil man.” ( Mt 5.39 ) “Do not resist evil with evil.” “Forgive and you will be forgiven.” (Lu 6.37 ) “Do not be anxious about your life.”( Lu 12.22 ) “He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword.” ( Mat 26.52 )