Bring guns to church? Pastor Ken Pagano provoked a firestorm when he invited members of Louisville, Kentucky’s New Bethel Church to celebrate the 4th of July and their 2nd Amendment rights by bringing their firearms to church.

Pastor Ken Pagano

The national news media opened fire at the very idea. After all, why should nice church folks need guns to defend themselves?

However, two years later as the nation recoiled from a series of shootings at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., a Colorado movie theater and a Wisconsin Sikh worship center, Black Christian News raised the question again: “Should Christians Be Allowed to Carry Guns to Church?” On the international news section of its website, BCN notes a number of overseas attacks on worshipers, including “Leaders in Nigeria Warn of Anarchy After Church/Mosque Shootings.”

Wisconsin Sikhs await word about their loved ones

But are American places of worship under attack? Yes says the Family Research Council and the Liberty Institute, which on Monday released a study of more than 600 documented, recent incidents of hostility to religion in the United States.

“America today would be unrecognizable to our Founders,” said Liberty Institute President, Kelly Shackleford. “Our First Liberty is facing a relentless onslaught from well-funded and aggressive groups and individuals who are using the courts, Congress, and the vast federal bureaucracy to suppress and limit religious freedom. This radicalized minority is driven by an anti-religious ideology that is turning the First Amendment upside down.”

Kelly Shackleford

“As dark as this survey is,” said FRC President Tony Perkins, “there is much light. The secularists’ agenda only advances when those who love liberty are apathetic. Let this be a call to stand for religious liberty in the United States.”

On Monday while they were unveiling their Survey of Religious Hostility in America, a group calling itself Military Atheists and Freethinkers, which has been pressuring the Pentagon to appoint atheist chaplains, was illustrating the reality of their accusations -- denouncing the American Legion for calling for a return to our Christian roots.

“It’s difficult to see military service co-opted to promote religious values above American values,” chastised the atheist group’s president, Jason Torpy, calling for the Legion to repudiate a recent statement by

a Legion official. The atheists said they were offended by this declaration by Ken Governor, the American Legion’s Legislative Commission Chairman:

Jason Torpy

“Activists aim to distort and twist the core values of patriotism, morality and religion that gave birth to our nation, under God," said Governor. "They aim to kick God out of our public squares.

“The nation’s cultural, moral and patriotic values have been under attack for decades, a disheartening trend that continues today. Prayer has been removed from schools. The U.S. flag is no longer protected from desecration.

“References to God on U.S. currency, in the Pledge of Allegiance and on public monuments have been challenged by a minority of voices whose vision for America is far different than that of our founding fathers.”

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