“God and guns” has been a frequent topic of news coverage — and GetReligion commentary — in recent years.
It’s a subject that tends to lend itself to compelling sound bites.
“Jesus loves me and my guns,” said a speaker at last year’s National Rifle Association prayer breakfast, which I covered for the Washington Post.
From past GetReligion posts, other quotes — from a variety of perspectives — that have stood out to me include:
• “Jesus is not a member of the NRA.”
• “All of us here are not going to turn the other cheek while you shoot us.”
• “You can fight by everyone throwing a Bible at them, and I mean that in a very respectful way because I am a Bible-fearing person.”
• “I think people in the South have a certain familiarity with guns and are also strong in their religious beliefs. But we don’t always think about the relationship between them.”
• “It is very common for Christians to simply assume that they live in Mayberry, trusting that because they know the Lord Jesus, everything will always be fine and nothing bad can happen to them and their families.”
I bring up this subject because of an in-depth NBC News story this week with the headline “Guns and God: Growing number of churches want armed security.” There’s a lot to like about NBC’s report. At the same time, its lack of attention to theology disappointed me.
This is the question I wish NBC had pursued even just a little: Would Jesus pack heat?
More on that in a moment. But first, let’s check out the compelling opening paragraphs:
When Chris Crews prepares for church on Sunday mornings, he follows a routine. He rises early. He puts on his church clothes, a button-down shirt paired with blue jeans or khakis. Then, before leaving the house with his wife and two children, he straps a firearm — a 9 mm or a .45 — to his right hip.
“I don’t leave home without a gun,” Crews said. “It’s kind of like the old American Express card ads: I just won’t leave home without it.”
Crews, 47, is part of the security team at Ava Assembly of God, a Pentecostal church of 300 members in Ava, Missouri. The church has no paid security guards. Instead, it counts on a team of 18 church members to keep fellow congregants safe. None of the security team members are paid and all carry handguns.