Devin Kelley, an atheist and Air Force reject, a man who had been court-martialed and dishonorably discharged for assaulting his wife and child, entered the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday in full combat gear and cut down 26 Christians in cold blood and put another 20 in the hospital. Victims include eight members of one family and the pastor’s own 14-year-old daughter. The fill-in pastor was shot in the back as he made his way up to the pulpit.
Said Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt, Jr, “He (Kelley) just walked down the center aisle, turned around and my understanding was shooting on his way back out. It's unbelievable to see children, men, and women, laying there. Defenseless people.”
While he once had been a Baptist Sunday School teacher, in recent months Kelley had taken to his Facebook page to post atheist screeds, calling believers in God “stupid.”
As he emerged from the church, he was confronted by a brave neighbor, Stephen Willeford, who shot him through a gap in his body armor. He then fled in an SUV, pursued by Willeford and another neighbor. When Kelley finally drove the SUV off the road and came to a stop, he either killed himself or bled out from the wound he’d received from Willeford. The police showed up five to seven minutes later.
This attack represents the worst church shooting in U.S. history, surpassing the nine killed by Dylann Roof at the Emanuel AME Baptist Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.
It’s past time to recognize that churches have become human shooting galleries and past time to recognize that church leaders and members need to arm themselves in their own defense.
This shooter was able to fire dozens of rounds at helpless victims because nobody in the church was in a position to shoot back. This bad man with a gun was finally neutralized, as is so often the case, by a good man with a gun. A plumber, it turns out, who was good with a rifle. By the time the police arrived, there was nothing left for them to do but clean up the carnage.
While the thought of armed church members might spook us today, it certainly did not spook the colonists who founded this country. For instance, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, because of the constant danger of Indian attack, every person above 18 years of age was ordered to come to church armed to the teeth, “with their muskets, or other peeces fit for servise, furnished with match, powder, & bullets.” If you showed up without a weapon, you got fined.
Rhode Island had a similar law, and Maryland enacted a 1642 law that specified, “Noe man able to bear arms to goe to church or Chappell… without fixed gunn and 1 Charge at least of powder and Shott.”
New Haven did the same, and the Plymouth Plantation directed that at least one member of each household was under an obligation to bring weapons to church during the season when the likelihood of an Indian attack was at its peak.
Virginia passed a law in 1619 not only requiring everybody to attend church on the Sabbath but to come armed: “and all suche as beare armes shall bring their pieces, swords, pouder and shotte.” To show up at church with your Bible but without your gun was a crime that would subject you to a fine.
While today most municipalities make it illegal to bring a gun to a house of worship (these ordinances need to be changed), there was a considerable period of time in American history where you’d be breaking the law if you were not armed in the house of God.
Jesus, ahead of his time as always, directed his own disciples to arm themselves in their own defense. In a much-overlooked passage of Scripture, he told his disciples, on the night he was betrayed, “Let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36), thus laying a biblical and very New Testament foundation for the Second Amendment.
Why were they to arm themselves? Said Jesus, “For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’” In other words, Jesus is saying, there are people out there who consider me to be a public enemy, and group me together with others they think are a menace to society. Because you are linked to me as my followers, they will think of you the same way. Some will be inclined to assault you without any cause whatsoever, just because you are identified with me. You’d better be prepared when that day comes.
With all the unhinged rhetoric from the left ceaselessly demonizing followers of the Cross, we’re at a time where we cannot take the risk of attending church without a means of protecting ourselves, our families, and our fellow church members. As a friend of mine put it, “A Glock for the flock.”
Bottom line: it’s time for God’s men to start packing heat to church.