This nugget of an issue has been catching my attention lately. I heard about a story (sorry no link) of pastors in the western US who are obtaining concealed carry permits and have some sort of shooting club together to practice. All so they can carry during church. The idea being that they would be able to “protect” their congregation in the event of some kind of attack in their church.
Thom Shultz posted a pretty good article that touches on the subject. He carefully traversed the topic without declaring a side. The point of the article was to get people to think about some questions about security in church – not a bad thing to think about.
I’ve been thinking about this for a little bit now. Here’s where I am right now.
I have no doubt in my mind that there are people who have concealed handguns in church, during worship. I’m not worried about these people standing up and starting to shoot people.
I am concerned that someone would think that they need to pack heat in church.
I know the realities of the world too. It’s dangerous out there. I get it. The church is supposed to be a welcoming beacon in the midst of the messy and chaotic world.
Here’s another concern I have. Are pastors going to start having the reputation of carrying weapons? Will that make pastors targets if someone wants to do something in a church?
How does a pastor carrying a weapon in worship match up with the Gospel message that they are claiming to preach about? Are the two compatible? How does it match up with the idea of dying to self? Aren’t pastors supposed to be more vulnerable – in order to build trust with people? I wonder how that will be effected if pastors are known to be carrying a handgun.
Will those that want to confess to a crime or violent act or who seek counsel from a pastor for something terrible they did, or are planning to do still continue to seek out a pastor, or will there be a bridge of trust?
Security is an important issue to talk about in the church. But my hope is that the solution is not to arm pastors with handguns. I think that creates more problems than it solves.