At least one chuch which will never have a massacre



One church has found the answer to preventing shooting massacres.

The Sunday service was winding down, but before it ended, Bishop Ira Combs led the congregation of 300 at the Greater Bible Way Temple in prayer. The shootings that killed nine people in a Charleston church could not happen here, he reassured his flock.

"If they had security, the assailant would not have been able to reload," Combs declared. "All of us here are not going to turn the other cheek while you shoot us."

As he preached, Combs was flanked by a man on each side of the pulpit, each armed with handguns beneath their suit coats. Other members of the church's security team were scattered among the crowd. Congregants did not know who was armed and who was not - an undercover approach that is part of the security plan.

This church will never experience a massacre. A crazy person can come with a gun and start shooting, although if he knows people are armed, he's likely to pick a different church. But if he does come to the Greater Bible Way Temple, he's not going to be able to slowly and casually execute nine people. He won't know who does and doesn't have a gun. He'll be forced to duck for cover while he's still working on his second victim. It's not perfect, but an armed citizenry virtually guarantees an end to mass murders.

And then there are those who would allow themselves to be slaughtered:

In April, church leaders criticized a Catholic priest in Ann Arbor, Michigan, after he advised worshipers to arm themselves for protection and offered a class in obtaining a concealed carry permit. The priest, Edward Fride, canceled the class after the local diocese said it had no place on church property.

In North Carolina, the CrossPointe Church in Fayetteville is reconsidering its use of armed security guards after a news story on them prompted angry emails from across the country.

"The criticism came from people who thought guns, even concealed by church security, were a mockery of people who claimed faith in God to meet all their needs in life," said Franklin Pounders, a minister at the church.

"My philosophy is a bit different. The Bible says, 'In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.'"

I don't see how anyone can think that merely taking the precaution of carrying a gun to defend yourself, without harming anyone else, would offend God. And then, if you do need to defend yourself in a life or death situation, and you do have a gun, what do these people believe, that you should sooner let yourself be slaughtered rather than trying to defend yourself?

I can't speak to what God thinks, but I think that failing to take reasonable measures to protect yourself and your loved ones is an offense both against life and common sense.

(Abridged version originally published in AT)



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