Friday, June 26, 2009

Louisville Pastor (New Bethel Church) Urges His Flock to Bring Guns to Church

Ken Pagano (pictured), the pastor of the New Bethel Church in Louisville, is passionate about gun rights. He shoots regularly at the local firing range, and his sermon two weeks ago was on “God, Guns, Gospel and Geometry.

Saturday night, he is inviting his congregation of 150 and others to wear or carry their firearms into the sanctuary to “celebrate our rights as Americans!” as a promotional flier for the “open carry celebration” puts it.

With gay hate killings the highest in more than 10 years because of gay marriage, and an increasing number of gay pride events nationwide..... this puts the icing on the cake...... a religious leader with a gun; this particular minister may not be 'dangerous with a gun,' encouraging others could be disastrous.

More from the New York Times:

“God and guns were part of the foundation of this country,” Mr. Pagano, 49, said Wednesday in the small brick Assembly of God church, where a large wooden cross hung over the altar and two American flags jutted from side walls. “I don’t see any contradiction in this. Not every Christian denomination is pacifist.”

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 in November.

......

The National Rifle Association says its membership is up 30 percent since November. And several states have recently passed laws allowing gun owners to carry firearms in more places — bars, restaurants, cars and parks.

Of the 40 states with right-to-carry laws, 20 allow guns in churches.

Public attitudes also seem to be turning more sympathetic to gun owners. In April, the Pew Research Center found for the first time that almost as many people said it was more important to protect the rights of gun owners (45 percent) than to control gun ownership (49 percent). Just a
year ago, Pew said, 58 percent said gun control was more important than the rights of gun owners (37 percent).

Gun-control advocates say they feel increasingly ineffective, especially after a recent spate of high-profile shootings, including last month’s murder, inside a church in Kansas, of a doctor who performed late-term abortions.

“We’ve definitely been marginalized,” said Pam Gersh, a public relations consultant here who helped organize a rally in Louisville in 2000, to coincide with the Million Mom March against guns in Washington.

“The Brady Campaign and other similar organizations who advocate sensible gun responsibility laws don’t have the money and the political power — not even close,” she said. “This pastor is obviously crossing a line here and saying ‘I can even take my guns to church, and there is nothing you can do about it.’ ”

Mr. Pagano said the church’s insurance company, which he would not identify, had canceled the church’s policy for the day on Saturday and told him that it would cancel the policy for good at the end of the year. If he cannot find insurance for Saturday, people will not be allowed in openly carrying their guns.

Arkansas and Georgia recently rejected efforts to allow people to carry concealed weapons in church. Watching the debate in Arkansas was John Phillips, pastor of the Central Church of Christ in Little Rock. In 1986, Mr. Phillips was preaching in a different church there when a gunman shot him and a parishioner. Both survived, but Mr. Phillips, 51, still has a bullet lodged in his spine.

In a telephone interview, he said he found the idea of “packing in the pew” abhorrent.

“There is a movement afoot across the nation, with the gun lobby pushing the envelope, trying to allow concealed weapons to be carried in places where they used to be prohibited — churches, schools, bars,” Mr. Phillips said.

“I don’t understand how any minister who is familiar with the teachings of the Bible can do this,” he added. “Jesus didn’t say, ‘Go ahead, make my day.’ ”

Mr. Pagano takes such comments as a challenge to his faith and says they make him more determined.

“When someone from within the church tells me that being a Christian and having firearms are contradictions, that they’re incompatible with the Gospel — baloney,” he said. “As soon as you start saying that it’s not something that Christians do, well, guns are just the foil. The issue now is the Gospel. So in a sense, it does become a crusade. Now the Gospel is at stake.”


4 comments:

Kenn said...

This type of baseless fear mongering on behalf of the gay rights community is what marginalizes the gay rights movement in the mind of otherwise sympathetic individuals such as myself. I'm a fan of EQUAL rights, not gay-specific rights! How can you claim to be in support of rights for GLBT individuals, while opposing the exercise of other rights by other groups?

Freedom isn't something where you can cherry-pick which parts you like and suppress all the other groups you don't. Either people are free or they aren't.

Jacob said...

This has nothing to do with fear or gun rights, but the fact that religious fanatics continue to use the name of God to justify any and everything they see fit.

Kentucky's Gay Politics said...

KENN LET ME BREAK IT DOWN FOR YOU AS STATED IN THE BLOG. IF YOU WAS GAY YOU WOULD UNDERSTAND THIS:

1. With gay hate killings the highest in more than 10 years because of gay marriage, and an increasing number of gay pride events nationwide..... this puts the icing on the cake...... a religious leader with a gun; this particular minister may not be 'dangerous with a gun,' encouraging others could be disastrous.

2. “I don’t understand how any minister who is familiar with the teachings of the Bible can do this,” he added. “Jesus didn’t say, ‘Go ahead, make my day.’ ”

Mr. Pagano takes such comments as a challenge to his faith and says they make him more determined.

“When someone from within the church tells me that being a Christian and having firearms are contradictions, that they’re incompatible with the Gospel — baloney,” he said. “As soon as you start saying that it’s not something that Christians do, well, guns are just the foil. The issue now is the Gospel. So in a sense, it does become a crusade. Now the Gospel is at stake.”

Anonymous said...

The LGBT community needs to devest themselves from the anti-gun stance. We have the right to defend our lives and can use any force necessary to do that. You are the best advocate for your own personal preservation. The police have no obligation to save you and in many cases thay have acted against gays, lesbians, and Transexuals. Laws don't protect you either, they one punish those who get caught. Fight for your rights by being ready to fight rather then being ready for victimization.

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