Two years ago in Louisville when Pastor Pagano offered his congregation the opportunity to bring their guns to a Saturday evening service, “about 200 people took him up on the invitation,” reported the Christian Science Monitor in one of the more restrained news accounts.
The media scrambling for the story
The little church is still recoiling from all the national attention. ABC,
NBC, CBS, Fox and CNN news reporters as well as journalists from the New York Times, BBC, MSNBC, Time, the New York Daily News, USA Today and London’s Daily Telegraph targeted the quiet congregation and its local pastor, none of which expected the mob of reporters brandishing microphones and cameras.
From the pulpit, “We are wanting to send a message that there are legal, civil, intelligent and law-abiding citizens who also own guns,” the Rev. Pagano told the folks in the pews. “If it were not for a deep-seated belief in the right to bear arms, this country would not be here today.”
The press leveled both barrels at the earnest young clergyman. The New York Times went for the racial angle: “The bring-your-gun-to-church day, which will include a $1 raffle of a handgun, firearms safety lessons and a picnic, is another sign that the gun culture in the United States is thriving despite, or perhaps because of, President Obama’s election.”
“A pastor in Kentucky is redefining the tradition of wearing your Sunday best to services by encouraging his congregation to strap on holsters and bring their weapons to church,” fired ABC’s Emily Friedman.
“The guns must be unloaded and private security will check visitors at the door,” reported the Associated Press.
“Pastor,” fired CNN’s John Roberts, “I was doing a lot of looking around this morning at the reaction to the event you had on Saturday night and some of the critics were asking things like ‘Would Jesus carry a weapon?’ And ‘What would Jesus think of a pastor who beat plow shares into swords?’”
“Marian McClure Taylor, executive director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, an umbrella organization for 11 Christian denominations in Kentucky, said Christian churches are promoters of peace, but ‘most allow for arms to be taken up under certain conditions,’” reported MSNBC as if the council of churches was relevant, never mind that it only represents America’s smallest and most liberal denominations while the largest – such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Assemblies of God, with which New Bethel Church is affiliated – shun the organization at the state, national and international levels.
Colorado theater shooting victim Stephen Barton
So, is it a good idea to bring guns to church?
In Aurora, Colorado, a mass shooting occurred at a Century movie theater during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. There was no armed security guard on duty, according to officials. The gunman, dressed in tactical clothing with multiple firearms, killed 12 people and injured 58 others.
At the Family Research Council office in Washington, D.C., a similarly armed gunman was halted at the front door by the security guard – who was shot as he subdued the attacker, but prevented anybody else from being killed or wounded.
A few years ago, a grim-faced Martin Sheen, with an American flag behind him, appeared in a commercial attacking the idea of legislation that would allow individuals to carry "hidden handguns" in, among other places, churches.
"But, the truth is," observes the American Way website, "that making it legal to carry concealed weapons in churches is not as crazy as Sheen and his anti-Second Amendment, anti-self-defense friends at Handgun Control, Inc. would like us to believe.