Some 200 people attended “open carry” gun celebration service held by Louisville pastor Ken Pagano at his New Bethel Church, which made headlines around the world, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. Church members helped direct traffic and check weapons to make sure they were not loaded. The event was criticized by other religious leaders, who say churches have no business glorifying deadly weapons. Across town, another event carrying an anti-gun message was held.
Pagano, the Marine veteran and police chaplain who leads the Assemblies of God congregation, was unapologetic, saying one cannot defend a First Amendment right to religious liberty without the Second Amendment right to bear arms. One woman said she never expected to be invited to wear a gun in church, but added: “I bet a lot of people who have been in churches lately and seen members killed or pastors killed are wishing they had.” In recent years, gunmen have made deadly attacks in Baptist, Unitarian, independent and other churches.