Worship Or Carry – Do You Have To Choose?

So, your Church said you cannot defend yourself.  There is absolutely no hypocrisy in that now is there?   We can start at the top of this mountain and work our way down if it makes it easier for you to understand what you have just been told and what is expected of you.

In the state of South Carolina, and many other states in the Union, places of worship are off-limits for concealed carry.  As in our state, permission must be granted to conceal and carry legally in any type of place of worship.  Here are a few reasons why this happens and why it is so misunderstood – and wrong.

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I discuss this dilemma in detail in class in hopes that people will understand their rights, where they are infringed and how to combat them properly.  It is difficult to stand up against someone you respect in your faith and their opinions on life in general, let alone being told the value of your life just took a downgrade.

In the 90’s you would open the paper or turn on the news every week to see another church shooting or attempted shooting.  People were injured or killed on a routine basis.

The churches became a target.  The Charleston, SC church shooting in 2015 was not the first of its kind, not even for South Carolina.  In Spartanburg, a man was subdued after kicking a door open of a church, shotgun in hand.  A CWP holder shut it down.  The Story.

I have listed 22 shootings in churches in the US just in the past 11 years (this does not include the attempted shootings that were diffused by counter gunfire or community action and ones that did not fall in my random search):

  • June 17, 2015. During a prayer service, nine people were killed by a gunman, including the senior pastor, State Senator Clementa C. Pinckney; a tenth victim survived. The morning after the attack, police arrested a suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, in Shelby, North Carolina.
Police tape surrounds the parking lot behind the AME Emanuel Church as FBI forensic experts work the crime scene, Friday, June 19, 2015 in Charleston, S.C. Dylann Storm Roof, 21, is accused of killing nine people during a Wednesday night Bible study at the church. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Police tape surrounds the parking lot behind the AME Emanuel Church as FBI forensic experts work the crime scene, Friday, June 19, 2015 in Charleston, S.C. Dylann Storm Roof, 21, is accused of killing nine people during a Wednesday night Bible study at the church. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Virginia requires “good and sufficient reason” to carry in church. This ought to qualify.

  • August 15, 2014 in Martinez, GA, a husband is dead, his wife injured after Daniel Robinson attacked the pair in their church parking lot of Marvin United Methodist Church.  Robinson shot Bill Davitte three times and hit his wife, Jenny, in the head.
  • In April 2014, a gunman opened fire at a Jewish community center and a Jewish assisted living facility in a Kansas City suburb, killing three, including a 14-year-old boy.  The suspect, an avowed white supremacist named Frazier Glenn Cross, aka Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., was charged with first-degree murder.  None of the victims were Jewish.
  • In August 2012, an attacker entered a kitchen at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee before Sunday services and began shooting.  He killed three people inside the house of worship and three people outside.  The shooter, Wade Michael Page, an Army veteran, reportedly wounded a police officer before killing himself.  He was known to have ties to hate groups, but the FBI could not completely clarify his motives.
  • February 14, 2010 in Richmond, California, three hooded men walk into Gethsemane Church of God in Christ and opened fire and then fled the scene.  The two victims, a 14-year-old boy and a 19-year-old man, were hospitalized.
  • In Maryville, Illinois on March 8, 2009, suspect Terry Joe Sedlacek, 27, of Troy, walks into the First Baptist Church and shoots pastor Fred Winters dead, point blank.  Several church members are injured by a knife in the struggle to capture after the attack.  The suspect also had stabbed himself, but survived, when his gun jams.
  • July 27, 2008, in Knoxville, Tennessee, a gunman opens fire in a church during a youth performance, killing two people and injuring seven.
  • In Colorado on Dec. 9, 2007, three people are killed and five wounded in two shooting rampages, one at a missionary school in suburban Denver and one at a church in Colorado Springs.  The gunman in the second incident is killed by a guard.
  • May 20, 2007 in Moscow, Idaho, a standoff between police and a suspect in the shootings of three people in a Presbyterian Church ended with three dead, including one police officer.
  • In Neosho, Missouri on August 12, 2007 at the First Congregational Church, three were killed.  Eiken Elam Saimon shot and killed the pastor and two deacons and wounded five others.
  • On May 21, 2006, at The Ministry of Jesus Christ Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, four were killed.  The four at the church who were shot were members of Erica Bell’s family; she was abducted and murdered elsewhere; Bell’s mother, church pastor Claudia Brown, was seriously wounded – Anthony Bell, 25, was the shooter.
  • Feb. 26, 2006 in Detroit, Michigan, Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 2 people plus the shooter were killed.  Kevin L. Collins, who reportedly went to the church looking for his girlfriend later killed himself.
  • On April 9, 2005 in College Park, Georgia, a 27-year-old airman died after being shot at a church, where he had once worked as a security guard.
  • On March 12, 2005 in Brookfield, Wisconsin at the Living Church of God, 7 killed by Terry Ratzmann when he opened fire on the congregation. He killed seven, wounded four before taking his own life.
  • July 30, 2005, College Park, Georgia, World Changers Church International, Air Force Staff Sgt. John Givens was shot five times by a police officer after charging the officer, following violent behavior.
  • It was March 12, 2002 in Lynbrook, New York at the Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church where Peter Troy, a former mental patient, opens fire during Mass, killing the priest and a parishioner. He later receives a life sentence.
  • In Oct. 5, 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Turner Monumental AME Church, two killed + shooter.  Shelia Wilson walked into the church while preparations are being made for service and shot the pastor, her mother and then herself.
  • Dec. 17, 2004, Garden Grove, Calif.: A veteran musician at the Crystal Cathedral shoots himself to death after a nine -hour standoff inside the church.
  • In Conception, Missouri on June 10, 2002 at the Benedictine monastery, Lloyd Robert Jeffress shot four monks in the monastery killing two and wounding two, before killing himself.
  • On May 18, 2001 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky at the Greater Oak Missionary Baptist Church, Frederick Radford stood up in the middle of a revival service and began shooting at his estranged wife, Nicole Radford, killing her and a woman trying to help her.  No one in the church was armed except Radford.
  • In Fort Worth Texas on September 15, 1999 at Wedgewood Baptist Church, Larry Gene Ashbrook shot dead seven people and injured a further seven at a concert by Christian rock group Forty Days in Fort Worth, Texas before killing himself.
  • It was on April 15, 1999 in Salt Lake City, Utah at the LDS Church Family History Library where Sergei Babarin, 70, with a history of mental illness, entered the library, killed two people and wounded four others before he was gunned down by police.

Many attempted robberies or massacres have been stopped, shut down if you will, by armed citizens.  Here is a very small list of many.

So why does your Minister, Rabbi or Priest tell you that you cannot carry?  I hear this great line all the time, “we have security provided”.  I am sorry, what happens when they go to the bathroom?  What do “I” do then?  No thanks pal, I want to leave the room on foot that day, not on my back.

I have paid visit to many sanctuaries throughout the years and as I have asked permission, I have been fortunate enough to never have been told no.  Bible and PistolThat is the only reason I was able to visit them.  After all, if I had been told no I would have left.  I would not enter without my EDC.  It would be a known fact that establishment disarms, so why be a sheep for those with evil intent?  The majority of church shootings happen by a familiar hand, not a stranger to the group, location or rules.

I have taught many CWP classes inside a church as well as groups from churches.  They fully believe in self-preservation and the protection of their flock.

At one point in my life I questioned why anyone would carry in a church of all places!  A dear friend, who is a Rabbi, made it very clear to me one day.  Levitt’s conversation changed my life and I would never be a sheeple again.  We were at a function together and entered a room for a chat about events.  He removed his jacket and he was carrying a full sized 1911 on his hip.  With his small frame you could not miss it (still an ongoing joke between us).

I pointed and asked him what he was doing with that.  He asked “with what?”  I pointed at his sidearm, “Why would you carry that?  Isn’t it a bit hypocritical?”  I cannot explain in words the look I had thrown at me at that moment.  It has burned in my brain forever.  He made me sit down and had a long chat with me.  Of the entire conversation, what stuck with me most was his explanation of hypocrisy.   bibletalkSpeaking and teaching Hebrew he gave me a lesson in interpretation.  “The Holy Bible is written in English.  It was first written in Hebrew.  During translation, many words were mistranslated.  One was within the Commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’.  It really says ‘Thou shalt not murder’. (Exodus 20:13).  There is a big difference between murder and kill.  If someone comes to murder me and I kill them, I have committed no sin”.  I had absolutely no argument for that.  I was silent – imagine that.

That was the beginning of my gun respect and journey that put me where I am today.  He knows the impact he made and I still thank him often.  He continues to share his faith in God and Guns with every crowd he meets.

Carry On

For those of you that still need help, turn to the New Testament and how it feels about self-preservation.  When your Minister tells you that you are not allowed to carry, before you leave to find a more trusted place to worship, leave him with this question, “Can you please explain Luke 22:36?”  This passage states “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.”  Even your Bible tells you to defend yourself as a priority.

On March 29, 2016, Mississippi passed the “Mississippi Church Protection Act” to allow armed security in churches, concealed carry without a permit and to provide for attempts to nullify federal regulations and executive orders that would limit gun rights.  The argument included scripture to include “Luke 22:36”.

Image #: 8228102 A man with a firearm listens to Pastor Ken Pagano during the "Open Carry Celebration" at New Bethel Church in Louisville, Kentucky, June 27, 2009. Around 200 members of the church complied with a request asked to bring their unloaded handguns for a one-day celebration of the Second Amendment which stipulates the right to bear arms. REUTERS/Ed Reinke/Pool /Landov
A man with a firearm listens to Pastor Ken Pagano during the “Open Carry Celebration” at New Bethel Church in Louisville, Kentucky, June 27, 2009. Around 200 members of the church complied with a request asked to bring their unloaded handguns for a one-day celebration of the Second Amendment which stipulates the right to bear arms. REUTERS/Ed Reinke/Pool /Landov

A place of worship should be a place of peace, calm and comradery.  The good guy is less attentive in these conditions.  The bad guy knows this and uses it to his advantage.  What better group huddled together and unaware is there?  Send your Minister, Rabbi or Priest an email asking if you are able to practice your rights to carry concealed with your CWP.  “I am a CWP holder and I carry everywhere to protect myself, including my place of worship.  Do I have your permission to carry during my visits to your church?”  Let their reply determine if you will return or not.

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