Devout Christians: Why Weapons In Church.

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( In a decent world, as nothing is ever perfect, there would be places we can run to for refuge that would empower us and help us heal. It could be said that places of worship should be a safe haven. A place whereby we can be our most vulnerable, and feel safe to receive care, instruction, correction, healing, and love. It should be a place we can go to when there is no one else and we simply don’t know what to do. We should be able to be unarmed. The problem is our community seems to be split per se between those that feel the sanctuary is still sacred in terms of safety, and those of us that question said safety. Let me be clear, if our churches are not safe that is not necessarily our fault. I say that because the scary truth is our sanctuaries have never been safe. It is important that as some powers that be seek to erase our history to re-write it with lies…that we don’t assist them in doing so. I understand this is difficult for many of us to fully come to terms with because of what it truly means.

Devout Christians: Why Weapons In Church.

We, as Black Americans, have no true safe space…not even our church. The re-writing of history matters if we refuse to look around us from the past to current and move as though we have spaces that are reserved for us. Yes, we should be in constant prayer about this issue, and stepping outside every day, alone stepping into the sanctuary on Sunday, is an act of faith. With that being said, is packing a gun to church the answer?

This concern is not something our community has made up. We read about our churches being bombed during the Civil Rights Movement, and the truth is we don’t know how many houses of worship were violate during that time…but it’s definitely more than we’ve read about. When someone says that’s in the past we must answer with St Emanuel AME Church. We can’t forget this church shooting that was in June of 2017 where nine of our people were brutally killed and one injured in an Anti-Black racist attack. The prayer meeting was under attack.

The reality of our safety has us questioning how we defend ourselves from such atrocities. While sitting in a community function the subject of crime against the community came up, and many began explaining that they feel as though they should carry protection everywhere. While elders argued that a gun, nor a taser, has no place in church some agreed the discussion should be had. It was important to convey that carrying protection didn’t mean you don’t have faith, nor does it mean you don’t trust God. There are those that feel God favors, in part, the prepared. There are those that welcomed the virtual church service model because they didn’t have to leave their home and felt more protected. They felt they were able to digest the message without feeling internally startled every time the doors of the sanctuary opened. Just knowing that there are members of our community that feel they can’t come to service, and be amongst the fellowship of believers, because of anxiety bought on by the racism in this country against our people is heartbreaking.

Larger congregations are able to have security on the church grounds which is a blessing, because the crowds are so dense. However, that doesn’t guarantee safety because unfortunately we don’t know who has the gun until it surfaces and threatens everyone present. Smaller churches may not be able to afford such so there is no physical defense per se at all. There must be a conversation on how we can protect our church services so that they can be the safe space we need. It will have to be an all hands on deck, “prayer without works is dead” kind of gathering of the minds to protect this sacred space. I can’t say if I agree or disagree with carrying a gun to church.

My initial thought was this should not be needed in the house of worship, but I reminded myself that the country we live in does not respect our humanity…and that includes our spirituality. I don’t want to judge this matter as that is not productive, and that is something our church members should remember. We must deal with each other with the love of the Lord verses being offended by those that decided they need to protect themselves coming to church…especially those that carry the gun just about everywhere they go for the same reason. One can only wonder if we are really at a point there by we need our bible in one hand to user in peace, and a piece in had to secure said peace.

Staff Writer; Chelle’ St James

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