Yesterday I wrote about Ken Pagano, the pastor of the New Bethel Church. He’s what some are calling the “pistol-packing pastor,” who has invited his parishioners to bring their weapons into the sanctuary, learn a bit about firearms safety, raffle off a gun and have a picnic.
Clergy from some other churches and peace activists are sponsoring an alternative event, called “Bring your peaceful heart, leave your gun at home,” and today I visited with the organizers.
The executive director of the Interfaith Paths to Peace, Terry Taylor, one of the organizers, told me that he and 18 co-sponsors planned this event because they were “deeply troubled by the idea of wearing weapons into sacred space.” He said they did not consider themselves “protesters,” per se, and did not want to be part of a demonstration at New Bethel. (Mr. Pagano told me he plans to set up a cordoned-off area for demonstrators outside his church.)
The co-sponsors include those from many faiths: Quakers, Episcopalians, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Unitarians and Tibetan Buddhists.
Good to know that people of faith are uniting for a meaningful response to what seems just plain crazy.