Further, divine protection doesn't seem to insure many religious institutions. Earlier this month, on December 3, there was a shooting at the First United Presbyterian Church, Coudersport, Pa, where an aggrieved husband shot his ex-wife in a pew during services. On October 26, after the murder of a church volunteer at another congregation, the Rev. Henry P. Davis observed, "We have security, but our security officers are not armed. But that might have to change at a time when armed persons come into churches for robberies, deranged persons come in with issues.”
And, apparently security officers aren't the only ones standing guard anymore. This week, I admit I was astonished to see a number of preachers and priests discussing carrying concealed weapons. Guns in the pulpit, guns in the choir loft, one wonders if the shepherds and angels will need AK-47s to guard the manger in future Nativity scenes.
Sure, in deference to Huckabee and Robertson, there are numerous Old Testament passages characterizing a Creator who's both petulant and punitive. But it's hard to imagine the Prince of Peace lining up school districts or churches in a naughty or nice list. How does anyone restrict an omniscient being with legislation, court decisions, or even denominational theology? Instead, I expect that this month countless students are mouthing quick prayers as their final exams arrive on their desks, even in those secular biology classes. At the same time, perhaps some Bible readers will remember John 18:11 where Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"