Monday, February 16, 2009
What would Jesus pack?
Arkansas pastors debate merits of allowing hidden gunsNever mind the ironies. This is a rare instance where I side with the gun people. Given the laws as they already exist in Arkansas, it is an infringement on church/state separation. A state government prohibits weapons in churches where it allows them in the Masonic Temple, a doctor's office, a college campus, & a public park. Arkansas would have to revise their entire concealed weapon laws so churches are not singled out for bans. I agree that individual Arkansas churches have the right to ban concealed weapons & post notices to that effect. But it's their decision. In Arkansas, guns are much a matter of religious freedom as marrying one's cousin. In the above picture, at least Jesus ain't hidin' what he's packin'. But he borrowed the gun. Because he doesn't believe in owning anything.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas pastors may soon have to worry about more than their flocks' spiritual battles. After a number of shootings in churches nationwide, should congregants be allowed to bring concealed weapons into their sanctuaries?
Under current Arkansas law, holders of concealed weapons permits can take their guns anywhere they want except bars and houses of worship. A bill in the state Senate would let churches decide for themselves whether weapons should be allowed.
"I believe it would disturb the sanctity and tranquility of church" said Pastor John Phillips, a bill opponent who was shot twice in the back as he finished a service 23 years ago. If a church opts out, "Do you want ushers to stop you at the door and frisk you?"
The bill's supporters say the issue isn't gun rights but a constitutionally protected right for churches to set their own rules. Opponents say worshippers should be allowed to pray without worrying whether the person next to them is armed.
Nathan Petty, a pastor at Beech Grove Baptist Church in Fordyce, has presented to legislators a petition from 40 preachers who support the bill.
"It's not about gun rights, it's about church rights," Petty said. "Is it right for the state to make that decision for the church?"
Introducing the new Christian National Anthem: Guns & Jesus.