When you think of church you usually think of wooden pews, stained glass windows and long sermons in the monotonous tone of Reverend Lovejoy from The Simpsons. Back when I was forced to go to church as a child, it was a long trip up and down the mountains to sit in a pew while a pastor warned us all about the deadly peril our souls would be in if we supported a candidate who wasn’t 100% anti-abortion.
This was my experience with church growing up, and while I own and use guns, I still found this story from Alabama to be pretty bizarre.
Rocky Mount United Methodist Church in Jemison has opened a gun range directly behind its sanctuary in effort to educate its members about gun safety and reach out to the community in the process.
“Really, the whole purpose of this range is to provide recreational and gun safety in a warm, loving, Christian environment,” the church’s pastor Phillip Guin told the Clanton Advertiser. “We wanted to come up with some different ideas to help our church grow, and we thought this would be a unique ministry to offer to the community.”
After the range opened, the church formed the Rocky Mount Hunt and Gun Club LLC, a separate, membership-only, not-for-profit group. To use the gun range, people must be members of the gun club or be guests of a member. (Source)
If you’ve read the Bible as I have, in Matthew 26:52 Jesus specifically tells his followers that those “who live by the sword, shall die by the sword.” I guess that like many other teachings attributed to Jesus, this one was conveniently ignored and replaced with Walmart Jesus who wants everyone to be armed with a Bible and a Glock 27.
Putting aside guns as a political issue, isn’t it kind of strange that a church would be training people how to use guns? It doesn’t seem like there is any sort of nefarious, anti-government agenda of any kind going on here and they aren’t stockpiling weapons like the Branch Davidians did back in the 1990s. It just strikes me as being in conflict with the teachings that Christianity was supposedly founded on.
To many people outside of the Bible Belt, the idea of church and guns going together may seem strange, but I guarantee you that in the rural South, most people wouldn’t blink an eye. However, can you imagine the buzz this would get if it was a black church? Just think of the shocking headlines from websites like Breitbart or WorldNetDaily if a black congregation, especially in an urban area like New Orleans, started training its members how to use firearms. There would be an absolute meltdown by many radical NRA members, that’s for sure.
Alabama ranks third in the United States for the highest weekly church attendance, so in a market so competitive, it would make sense that Rocky Mount United Methodist Church would have to do something to stand out. Too bad they couldn’t protest wars or launch food drives to feed the poor as Jesus commanded – that just wouldn’t sell in the Bible Belt.
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