NEWS: Guns and God in Kentucky

APG_custom_blackhawk_2003Approximately 180 people attended recently a gun celebration at the New Bethel Church in Louisville, Kentucky, a state where residents may carry firearms in most places, including churches. Ken Pagano, the Assembly of God pastor, spoke from the pulpit and proclaimed that America would not exist “but for a deep-seated belief in God and firearms,” eliciting a wave of amens from the pews. Though he did not call the meeting a worship service, he did bless the congregation of gun toting attendees and deliver a prayer.

Pagano and many who were in the audience see themselves as heirs to a long American tradition of religious pioneers gathering in churches to fight what they see as unjust political oppression. Some of the attendees, who see their right to bear arms under threat, likened the event to that of founding fathers resisting British taxation without representation. After the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller in his Wichita, Kansas church (see Cara Burnidge’s June 20 post below: “New Wave of Christian Terrorism?”), many of those present at the celebration also agreed on the subject of self-defense. “If the pastor’s in there,” one churchgoer said, “and he’s got a concealed weapon and somebody comes in and starts shooting people, he can take him out. That’s his right.” Read more here.

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