The Louisiana Legislature last week may have cleared parishioners to carry guns to church, but the idea seems to sit pretty uncomfortably with clergy, whom legislators thought they were helping by providing homegrown security.
But soon after, lots of New Orleans clergy recoiled at the notion, including those whose churches try to act as stabilizing influences in high-crime neighborhoods.
The Rev. John Raphael, a cop-turned-pastor who shepherds New Hope Baptist church in Central City, knows too well how dangerous his neighborhood can be. Filing out of a service one Sunday, some of his congregation had to duck for cover when gunfire suddenly broke out nearby.
Raphael said he understands measures like parking lot security outdoors. But he said an armed presence in the sanctuary is incompatible with what a church is supposed to be.
He called it a “gut check” for faith. ... “We should project the image that we trust in God.”
It seems a lot of pastors talked to for this story aren’t too happy with the idea of bring-your-gun-to-church day. Amen.