Packing heat in the pulpit

Another unusual law from my home sweet Oklahoma:

The state house is considering a bill to allow pastors in their churches to protect themselves like citizens do in their homes, vehicles and businesses.

A state house committee approved the legislation Tuesday that would make it legal to use deadly defensive force if there’s a fear of imminent death or bodily harm.

The representative who wrote the bill sited several cases of violence inside Oklahoma Churches in the last decade.

The bill now goes to the house floor for a vote.

via OK House Considers Bill Allowing Pastors To Use Guns In Church – NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |.

So does that mean that pastors aren’t currently allowed to use firearms from the pulpit?  Or is this one of Oklahoma’s “making a statement” laws?  (Update:  Apparently the latter.)

Back in the Middle Ages, the clergy were forbidden to shed blood, so they would not use swords or lances.  So instead some of them, including the Popes leading their armies, would use maces to bash their enemy’s heads in.

Military chaplains, I believe, do not carry weapons.

What do you think of the prospect of pistol-packing pastors?  A little too law-oriented?  A temptation to deal with annoying parishioners in a non-pastoral way?  Prudential protection?

HT:  Ned

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Mary

    A Baptist pastor at a church a few miles from ours was shot and killed in his pulpit. The man was not known to the congregation, he is currently under psychiatric care and unfit to stand trial. There were two police officers attending service that morning. Two other men at the service tackled the man and the police came over and helped hold him down until back up arrived. Illinois does not have concealed carry, but I believe one of the police officer’s did have a service gun with him. He couldn’t get a clear shot.
    Our church and others in the area were notified immediately. Most in the days following scrutinized their own security measures with a fine toothed comb with the assistance of some local experts. When it comes down to it short of having scanners at the entrance not much you can do if a crazy person shows up wanting to kill somebody.

  • Mary

    A Baptist pastor at a church a few miles from ours was shot and killed in his pulpit. The man was not known to the congregation, he is currently under psychiatric care and unfit to stand trial. There were two police officers attending service that morning. Two other men at the service tackled the man and the police came over and helped hold him down until back up arrived. Illinois does not have concealed carry, but I believe one of the police officer’s did have a service gun with him. He couldn’t get a clear shot.
    Our church and others in the area were notified immediately. Most in the days following scrutinized their own security measures with a fine toothed comb with the assistance of some local experts. When it comes down to it short of having scanners at the entrance not much you can do if a crazy person shows up wanting to kill somebody.

  • Tom Hering

    Now when I hear that a pastor is known for his bullet point sermons, no way am I visiting that church.

  • Tom Hering

    Now when I hear that a pastor is known for his bullet point sermons, no way am I visiting that church.

  • Joe

    I really don’t care if my pastor wants to carry. In Wisconsin he already can. If he conceals the weapon, he’ll need a permit. If he carries it open, no permit is necessary.

  • Joe

    I really don’t care if my pastor wants to carry. In Wisconsin he already can. If he conceals the weapon, he’ll need a permit. If he carries it open, no permit is necessary.

  • mikeb

    Pastors are citizens of both kingdoms. But, I prefer mine to lift high the cross. Nothing wrong with bearing the sword in self defense (and lets not open the can of worms that is the Left’s use of possession laws to reach their goals of effectively banning guns).

    Military chaplins have an aid who serves as driver, assistant, and also carries a weapon to protect the chaplin. Chaplins are given officers’ rank and its privlidges but are only addressed as “chaplin”, i.e. Chaplin (Major) John Smith.

  • mikeb

    Pastors are citizens of both kingdoms. But, I prefer mine to lift high the cross. Nothing wrong with bearing the sword in self defense (and lets not open the can of worms that is the Left’s use of possession laws to reach their goals of effectively banning guns).

    Military chaplins have an aid who serves as driver, assistant, and also carries a weapon to protect the chaplin. Chaplins are given officers’ rank and its privlidges but are only addressed as “chaplin”, i.e. Chaplin (Major) John Smith.

  • mikeb

    I guess I should add: If my pastor packs heat, he’ll have a hard time digging the weapon from under his cassock and surplice

  • mikeb

    I guess I should add: If my pastor packs heat, he’ll have a hard time digging the weapon from under his cassock and surplice

  • Tom Hering

    Business idea! Custom quick-draw cassocks.

  • Tom Hering

    Business idea! Custom quick-draw cassocks.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    The tacit subtext in subjects like this one is that, while average Christians could commit an act of violence in self-defense, REAL Christians are pacifists. After all, Jesus is the Prince of Peace who would never bomb of shoot anyone. Deep down, we know that Gandhi was a better Christian than any Christian, (except Martin Luther King jr. which proves the point.)

    So… the right thing would be for a pastor to watch his parishioners be murdered one after another. Sure, they would die in pain but that would be forgotten in the warm wave of self-righteous smugness that the pastor and like-minded folks would enjoy.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    The tacit subtext in subjects like this one is that, while average Christians could commit an act of violence in self-defense, REAL Christians are pacifists. After all, Jesus is the Prince of Peace who would never bomb of shoot anyone. Deep down, we know that Gandhi was a better Christian than any Christian, (except Martin Luther King jr. which proves the point.)

    So… the right thing would be for a pastor to watch his parishioners be murdered one after another. Sure, they would die in pain but that would be forgotten in the warm wave of self-righteous smugness that the pastor and like-minded folks would enjoy.

  • Tom Hering

    Thanks, Pastor Spomer. You sent me back to the Bible, and to Our Lord’s temptation in the desert:

    I know what you’re thinking. “Did He give six answers from Scripture or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track Myself. But being as this is the Word of God, the most powerful Word in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

  • Tom Hering

    Thanks, Pastor Spomer. You sent me back to the Bible, and to Our Lord’s temptation in the desert:

    I know what you’re thinking. “Did He give six answers from Scripture or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track Myself. But being as this is the Word of God, the most powerful Word in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

  • Carl Vehse

    “So does that mean that pastors aren’t currently allowed to use firearms from the pulpit?”

    Like Oklahoma, Texas also has constrained the 2nd Amendment self-defense rights of its citizens by outlawing (Penal Code §46.035(b)(6)) concealed handguns “on the premises of a church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship.” I’m not sure what state restrictions may apply to concealed rifles, shotguns, and howitzers.

    If Oklahoma does recognize the right of self-defense of its citizens to include places of worship, perhaps Oklahoma Lutherans might start packing their ‘Sunday goin’-to-meeting’ pistol,” discussed in a Cyberbrethren column last year.

  • Carl Vehse

    “So does that mean that pastors aren’t currently allowed to use firearms from the pulpit?”

    Like Oklahoma, Texas also has constrained the 2nd Amendment self-defense rights of its citizens by outlawing (Penal Code §46.035(b)(6)) concealed handguns “on the premises of a church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship.” I’m not sure what state restrictions may apply to concealed rifles, shotguns, and howitzers.

    If Oklahoma does recognize the right of self-defense of its citizens to include places of worship, perhaps Oklahoma Lutherans might start packing their ‘Sunday goin’-to-meeting’ pistol,” discussed in a Cyberbrethren column last year.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    If I lived in any other state than one held hostage by Chicago politics, I wouldn’t even need to worry about packing heat. Some of my congregants would probably have the necessary fire power to defend folks. So, no I wouldn’t pack heat in the pulpit. Plus, it’s really hard to quick draw with an alb on and GSR is hard to get out of white cloth.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    If I lived in any other state than one held hostage by Chicago politics, I wouldn’t even need to worry about packing heat. Some of my congregants would probably have the necessary fire power to defend folks. So, no I wouldn’t pack heat in the pulpit. Plus, it’s really hard to quick draw with an alb on and GSR is hard to get out of white cloth.

  • Mike

    Heh,

    Almy Church supply could offer liturgical handguns that match communion ware.

    or

    Pastors could simply bring out the holy hand grenade of Antioch.

  • Mike

    Heh,

    Almy Church supply could offer liturgical handguns that match communion ware.

    or

    Pastors could simply bring out the holy hand grenade of Antioch.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    About ten years ago a pastor was gunned down in his church on Sunday morning here in my home town. The police were summoned and pursued the gunman where he was dispatched in a field on the edge of town. ‘Pastor did not survive. It happens.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    About ten years ago a pastor was gunned down in his church on Sunday morning here in my home town. The police were summoned and pursued the gunman where he was dispatched in a field on the edge of town. ‘Pastor did not survive. It happens.

  • Bill Cork

    Military chaplains are forbidden from carrying weapons. Army Chief of Chaplains has directed that they not even pick up an unloaded one. (But some have carried weapons down range, in violation of this policy). The chaplain assistiant (Army), religious program specialist (Navy), etc., provides security.

  • Bill Cork

    Military chaplains are forbidden from carrying weapons. Army Chief of Chaplains has directed that they not even pick up an unloaded one. (But some have carried weapons down range, in violation of this policy). The chaplain assistiant (Army), religious program specialist (Navy), etc., provides security.

  • Tom Hering

    Mike @ 11, :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Mike @ 11, :-D

  • http://www.TrinityCreston.org Rev. Jonathan C. Watt

    Have you read the book Warrior Monk by Ray Keating? It’s all about a pistol packing LCMS pastor who used to be a CIA guy. (Fictional of Course).

    http://www.amazon.com/Warrior-Monk-Pastor-Stephen-Grant/dp/1453801030

  • http://www.TrinityCreston.org Rev. Jonathan C. Watt

    Have you read the book Warrior Monk by Ray Keating? It’s all about a pistol packing LCMS pastor who used to be a CIA guy. (Fictional of Course).

    http://www.amazon.com/Warrior-Monk-Pastor-Stephen-Grant/dp/1453801030

  • Dan Kempin

    I understand the tempatation to make light of this–I mean “pistol packin’ pastors” is a great alliteration–but this really has nothing to do with pastors. The “stand your ground” rule (with deference to the lawyers present for the details) is about the right to defend yourself in your own home. This law proposes to allow self defense in a church the same status as in a home. As pointed out earlier, this is not unprecedented. And while there have not yet been any examples in the US, churches and christian worship services have been targets of muslim attack. It is not unthinkable that one could be called on to honor his vocation by protecting the vulnerable even, perhaps, in the house of God.

    Hey . . . you see what I did right there? This can be sorted out through vocation! A pastor is also a man and (likely) a husband and father. I think our lutheran understanding gives us particular clarity here.

    And Mike, #11, come on. Liturgical handguns? Really? Any gun toting lutheran could tell you that you only need a HOLSTER appropriate to the church year. And yes, Almy could do that very well.

  • Dan Kempin

    I understand the tempatation to make light of this–I mean “pistol packin’ pastors” is a great alliteration–but this really has nothing to do with pastors. The “stand your ground” rule (with deference to the lawyers present for the details) is about the right to defend yourself in your own home. This law proposes to allow self defense in a church the same status as in a home. As pointed out earlier, this is not unprecedented. And while there have not yet been any examples in the US, churches and christian worship services have been targets of muslim attack. It is not unthinkable that one could be called on to honor his vocation by protecting the vulnerable even, perhaps, in the house of God.

    Hey . . . you see what I did right there? This can be sorted out through vocation! A pastor is also a man and (likely) a husband and father. I think our lutheran understanding gives us particular clarity here.

    And Mike, #11, come on. Liturgical handguns? Really? Any gun toting lutheran could tell you that you only need a HOLSTER appropriate to the church year. And yes, Almy could do that very well.

  • Michael B.

    @mike@11

    .And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, “O LORD, bless this Thy hand grenade that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy.” And the LORD did grin and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats and large chu… … And the LORD spake, saying, “First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.” –Book of Armaments, Chapter 2, verses 9-21

  • Michael B.

    @mike@11

    .And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, “O LORD, bless this Thy hand grenade that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy.” And the LORD did grin and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats and large chu… … And the LORD spake, saying, “First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.” –Book of Armaments, Chapter 2, verses 9-21

  • Carl Vehse

    Unlike Lutherans, who may want concealed handguns allowed in church, the Romanists are working to have the pope recognize their Patron Saint of Handgunners.

  • Carl Vehse

    Unlike Lutherans, who may want concealed handguns allowed in church, the Romanists are working to have the pope recognize their Patron Saint of Handgunners.

  • Joe

    My understanding of why Chaplains don’t carry a weapon is because they are recognized as non-combatants under the rules 0f war; not because the head army chaplain is a pacifist. The chaplain I encountered most while in the Army Reserves was a darn good shot.

    at 2:50

  • Joe

    My understanding of why Chaplains don’t carry a weapon is because they are recognized as non-combatants under the rules 0f war; not because the head army chaplain is a pacifist. The chaplain I encountered most while in the Army Reserves was a darn good shot.

    at 2:50

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Tom @8 LOL RALMAO!

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Tom @8 LOL RALMAO!

  • Arfies

    I would like to make a witty comment, but I’m afraid I only have half the necessary armament.
    I am glad to report, however, that the man who was at one time planning to kill me did eventually call and say he had changed his mind. Had he carried out that intention, I probably would not have had a way to defend myself with force.

  • Arfies

    I would like to make a witty comment, but I’m afraid I only have half the necessary armament.
    I am glad to report, however, that the man who was at one time planning to kill me did eventually call and say he had changed his mind. Had he carried out that intention, I probably would not have had a way to defend myself with force.

  • kenneth

    I guess I’ll quit Doctor Vieth. —–Though I have no good reason why.. Am I to controversial? An independent ranter, too bad< I had thought a rather stolid thinker. So sorry, kindly tell me which premises are so bad to kick my posts off. And the conclusions they were valid and solid. I suppose this is good by?

  • kenneth

    I guess I’ll quit Doctor Vieth. —–Though I have no good reason why.. Am I to controversial? An independent ranter, too bad< I had thought a rather stolid thinker. So sorry, kindly tell me which premises are so bad to kick my posts off. And the conclusions they were valid and solid. I suppose this is good by?

  • kenneth

    _________So sorry eveyone. I have delusions of granduer as much as paranoiac problems. The post I referd to was about Presidents day. Again, sorry.

  • kenneth

    _________So sorry eveyone. I have delusions of granduer as much as paranoiac problems. The post I referd to was about Presidents day. Again, sorry.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Didn’t Jesus say to his disciples in Luke “Let he who has no sword go and sell his garment and buy one”? Not for attack or initiating violence, but for self-defense.

    As I understand the Scriptures, the legitamite use of self-defense is not forbidden. Even Luther carried a sword for a time.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Didn’t Jesus say to his disciples in Luke “Let he who has no sword go and sell his garment and buy one”? Not for attack or initiating violence, but for self-defense.

    As I understand the Scriptures, the legitamite use of self-defense is not forbidden. Even Luther carried a sword for a time.

  • Mike

    Michael B #17

    I had that whole thing memorized at one time…. thanks LOL

  • Mike

    Michael B #17

    I had that whole thing memorized at one time…. thanks LOL


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