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Published:June 5th, 2009 14:13 EST
"Bring Your Gun To Church Day" Stirs Up Controversy

"Bring Your Gun To Church Day" Stirs Up Controversy

By Robert Paul Reyes


"A pastor in Kentucky is redefining the tradition of wearing your Sunday best to services by encouraging his congregation to strap on holsters and bring their weapons to church.

Pastor Ken Pagano of New Bethel Church in Louisville, Ky., says that he organized an `Open Carry Celebration` to promote responsible gun ownership.

The celebration scheduled for Sunday, June 27, will feature YouTube videos promoting gun safety and will ask congregants to join in singing patriotic songs, according to Pagano." EMILY FRIEDMAN/ABC News

I`ve heard of churches holding a "Bring a friend to church Sunday", but this is ridiculous. Pagano should be able to come up with a less controversial way to promote his church.

To bring a weapon to a sanctuary is not a sign of strength, but of weakness. Shouldn`t the congregation be trusting in their God to protect them?

A pastor should seek to instill optimism and trust in God in his congregation, Pagano is doing just the opposite -- he is encouraging his flock to give in to fear. We shouldn`t give in to fear, and strap on a gun every time we leave our homes. Christians should trust in god and the police to protect them.

I own a shotgun and a hand gun, but I would never carry a firearm to a place like a bar or a church that`s patronized by hot-headed folks.

Firearms will be checked to make sure they are unloaded prior to entering the temple. But this publicity gimmick is still sending out the wrong message, and encouraging people to carry guns in public as if we were living in the Wild West.

According to news reports only about a hundred people attend Pagano`s church, this publicity stunt will stifle growth in membership. What person in his right mind would want to join a house of worship where everyone is packing heat?

I read quite a few articles about Pagano`s bone-headed idea, and most of them adopted a light-hearted approach. This is a serious story and there is nothing funny about it; there is always the possibility that Pagano`s little band of believers might turn into a Christian militia.

If a mosque had a "bring a gun to mosque celebration" nobody would treat it as a joke. Christian fundamentalists scare me almost as much as Jihadists, and I`m not laughing about Pagano`s bring a gun to church folly.

Pagano claims that his "Open Carry Celebration" is his way of commemorating the 2nd Amendment and the 4th of July. I hope that cooler heads prevail, and this crazy stunt is canceled; having a picnic and setting off fireworks is a much saner way to celebrate the birth of our democracy.