A Poconos Mountains, Pa. church has asked their members to bring in their AR-15 rifles to be blessed by God. The World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland happens to reside near an elementary school. Zealotry is apart of American life, sure, but things have only grown more divisive despite the deaths of children in Parkland, Fla.
Since the shooting, the kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have come out in strict opposition to porous gun laws that allow teens to legally purchase weapons. They’ve also lambasted state representatives like Marco Rubio for accepting exorbitant campaign donations from the NRA. Rubio experienced a significant dressing down at a recent CNN Town Hall, where angry students and parents confronted the junior Senator about his rhetoric. Now, this Newfoundland church wants to show that the AR-15 isn’t only an assault weapon, but it’s the “rod of iron” spoken about in the Bible’s final chapter of Revelations.
That’s right, Church leaders think a gun created by Colt in 1964 is actually a weapon of scripture. Their congregation seems to believe so, too. The church is expecting 600 people to come out in favor of the blessing and assures that the weapons will be unloaded and checked at the door. Tim Elder, the Unification Sanctuary’s director of world missions explains that after the tragedy in Florida, he thought it was an even better time to go ahead with the blessing that was planned months ago. “Now more than ever, good people need to stand up and claim for themselves the tools that can be used to stop that kind of evil,” Elder told the Associated Press.
The website of the church also has some advice on how to get the AR-15s back and forth: “If unable to purchase and legally transport such a ‘rod of iron’ because of laws barring the purchase of weapons, or other reasons, couple are invited to purchase a $700 gift card from a gun store, as such evidence of their intent to purchase a ‘rod of iron’ in the future.”
Of course, some parents are opposed to the idea. Mostly because the church is mere miles from Wallenpaupack South Elementary School. “I wish they didn’t have it at all,” said parent Kendra Hanor to WNEP-TV. “I don’t think there is a good time to have it, especially this close.”
The AR-15 is insanely popular. Unfortunately, it’s also popular with mass shooters, explains the New York Times. Five of the six deadliest mass shootings have had the AR-15 used over the past six years.
The question is, is it okay to choose guns over kids? The students walking out of schools and staging protests aren’t waiting to find out. On March 24, the Parkland, Fla. students have organized a march on Washington, D.C. Students from all over the country will be participating, and the group has already secured matching $500K donations from the Clooneys, Oprah, and the Spielbergs. It looks like this debate will be going to the head of government ahead of mid-term elections this year.