I know the short answer to the above question for me. It’s no, not ever, no way. Yet in Louisville, Kentucky, an alleged man of the cloth, Pastor Ken Pagano of the New Bethel Church, invited parishoners to bring guns to a special service this past weekend. It was billed as an “open carry celebration”, and it’s tough to figure out if this guy is simply publicity hungry or something much worse. How a God-fearing Christian can seriously advocate such foolishness is beyond me.
Ken Pagano has, of course, become a media sensation since word of his “bring your gun to church” celebration spread. To be fair, he didn’t allow loaded guns into New Bethel. It was, according to this theologian, a means to promote responsible gun ownership and firearms safety. Gee, I thought that’s what the NRA was supposed to be about. I guess I’m wrong on both counts. I also thought church was supposed to be about a lof of things other than packing heat to show you support the Second Amendment.
Pagano, for his part, has a ready explanation for this. “As a Christian, I believe, and as an American this country was founded on the deep-seated belief in God and firearms — without which we wouldn’t be here today.”
This he said to (who else?) Fox News. At least 200 people agreed with him. That’s how many showed up to his “open carry celebration”. One would think the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller in a church might have given Pagano pause. Apparently not.
Now maybe New Bethel Church does some of the things I have come to believe are actions responsible Christians take. That would include feeding the hungry, looking after teen mothers, helping immigrants learn English, promoting racial and religious tolerance among all people, things like that. I know my church, imperfect though it may be, works at doing these things, and not just on Sunday. It just seems like promoting gun ownership would be pretty far down the list of priorities for most Christian institutions.
Like many other folks, Pagano cites a fear among his parishioners that President Obama will send the feds to their door, and confiscate their weapons. What shred of actual evidence they have of his intention to do that is between them and their Creator. So afraid are Pastor Pagano and his flock that he wants to see his “open carry celebration” become an annual national event.
Can I get a “God Forbid?” But seriously, would you every carry a weapon to your church, or mosque, or synagogue?