When I reflect on the idea of people having permits to carry concealed weapons in church, the following thoughts come to mind.
- While people may be well trained in using a fire arm, the question remains as to what if someone enters a church and begins to fire openly on parishioners, thereby prompting one who has a firearm to use it to prevent the attacker from killing more people? I think the intensity of such a situation is great. Adrenalin may flow as the need to act is immediate. Reality has “come home,” so to speak. The “what if” is no longer, begging a further question — what happens if, out of a sincere desire to protect innocent people, one ends up missing the attacker and instead strikes the innocent person that one was attempting to protect?
- I have heard that in Russian and Serbian Orthodox churches overseas there are occasions in which military personnel have guarded churches with guns. I also understand the guards are posted outside — rather than inside — the church. By “inside” here I mean the sanctuary, the temple, the “holy space” that has been dedicated and consecrated solely to the worship of God. The issue for me here is that the Church is the place of worship., the place that is set aside for this and no other purpose, and cannot be compromised. When I say “set aside,” I mean not resorting to a fallen view of the world and letting that compromise the worship and its space. This is the point I was trying to make last week.
I realize how difficult it is in our time to discuss such matters. Just this morning, I read a story relating how at least 147 Kenyan college students who were Christians had been targeted and slain by Islamic terrorists. I can understand how some may not agree with the thoughts I have shared, and I am sure there are people who sincerely believe the best way to keep churches safe is to allow “trained people” to carry concealed weapons. But from what does that thought proceed? It is not easy trying to come to a middle ground here.
O Lord illumine our hearts, guide and help us to bear witness to Your Gospel message that we proclaim during these 40 days of Pascha. “Christ is risen!”
With love in Christ,
The unworthy, +Paul