Friday, June 26, 2009

Leadership 2: Quack pastor urges his flock to bring their guns to church

I've heard that you should never start with telling people how NOT to do something. Michelle Obama is doing the right thing. This second post on the topic of leadership features someone doing the wrong thing in a spectacular way: the New York Times has a story on Pastor Ken Pagano, who urged his congregation to bring their guns INTO THE CHURCH this Saturday night where they will hold a raffle, firearms safety lessons and a picnic.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ken Pagano, the pastor of the New Bethel Church here, is passionate about gun rights. He shoots regularly at the local firing range, and his sermon two weeks ago was on “God, Guns, Gospel, and Geometry.” And on Saturday night, he is inviting his congregation of 150 and others to wear or carry their firearms into the sanctuary to “celebrate our rights as Americans!” as a promotional flier for the “open carry celebration” puts it.

“God and guns were part of the foundation of this country,” Mr. Pagano, 49, said Wednesday as he sat in the small brick Assembly of God house of worship, where a large wooden cross hung over the altar and two American flags jutted from the side walls. “I don’t see any contradiction in this. Not every Christian denomination is pacifist.”

The bring-your-gun-to-church day, which will include a $1-raffle of a handgun, firearms safety lessons and a picnic, is another sign that the gun culture in the United States is thriving despite, or perhaps because of, President Obama’s election in November.


The celebration will feature lessons in responsible gun ownership, Mr. Pagano said. Sheriff’s deputies will be at the doors to check that openly carried firearms are unloaded, but they will not check for concealed weapons.

“That’s the whole point of concealed,” Mr. Pagano said, adding that he was not worried because such owners require training.

It is true that not all Christians denominations are pacifist. But we worship Christ, not guns and not the flag. This idiot worships all three, which means that he worships guns and the flag more than Christ. Jesus said you can't serve more than one master. I disagree, frankly, but when your masters are nationalism and violence, you certainly can't serve God.

Arkansas and Georgia recently rejected efforts to allow people to carry concealed weapons in church. Watching the debate in Arkansas was John Phillips, pastor of the Central Church of Christ in Little Rock. In 1986, Mr. Phillips was preaching in a different church there when a gunman shot him and a parishioner. Both survived, but Mr. Phillips, 51, still has a bullet lodged in his spine.

In a telephone interview, he said he found the idea of “packing in the pew” abhorrent.

“There is a movement afoot across the nation, with the gun lobby pushing the envelope, trying to allow concealed weapons to be carried in places where they used to be prohibited — churches, schools, bars,” Mr. Phillips said.

“I don’t understand how any minister who is familiar with the teachings of the Bible can do this,” he added. “Jesus didn’t say, ‘Go ahead, make my day.’ ”

Mr. Pagano takes such comments as a challenge to his faith and says they make him more determined.

“When someone from within the church tells me that being a Christian and having firearms are contradictions, that they’re incompatible with the Gospel — baloney,” he said. “As soon as you start saying that it’s not something that Christians do, well, guns are just the foil. The issue now is the Gospel. So in a sense, it does become a crusade. Now the Gospel is at stake.”

Radicalism can be a good trait in a leader if it is directed at the right cause. In Pagano's case, it is clearly not - what he is doing should be abhorrent to most Christians whether or not they are advocates of strong gun controls. Additionally, instability is not a trait that we look for in leaders.


Anonymous said...

You are correct to say Jesus did not say "go ahead, make my day". What Jesus did in fact say after the 72 returned was "if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." Luke 22:36 Today's sword is the gun and Jesus was telling His disciples that they needed to be able to defend themselves because He was leaving them. Why else would Peter been carrying a sword in the garden of Gethsemane?

My God is far from weak and His people are mighty warriors in both the spiritual realm and the natural. You can thank your God fearing fore-fathers for your freedom of speech. You can thank Obama for taking it away. Look into the hate crimes bill, if you so much as hurt another persons feelings you can be taken to jail. Stop being deceived, take the veil off, open your eyes and look around.

W said...

I rarely allow comments which express poorly-founded opinions, but this one is so wrong I have to rebut it.

The general message that Jesus gives us is to turn the other cheek. He did reportedly go on a rampage in the temple with a whip, and he did reportedly utter the phrase the commenter refers to. However, those are not in line with His general message. To take one verse out and use it to justify bringing firearms to church is wrong.

It is only the weak who feel they need to regularly resort to violence and arms to defend themselves.