Thursday, November 3, 2011

Please Come to Church Unarmed

The state right next door, Wisconsin, recently passed a concealed-carry law, allowing those with valid permits to carry concealed weapons. This led Milwaukee's Roman Catholic bishops to issue the sort of statement on Tuesday rarely heard in countries outside war zones - they urged parishioners to come to church unarmed out of respect for the integrity of sacred spaces.

This seems like a completely reasonable, common-sense request, especially since the bishops are leaving the decision on whether or not to ban weapons up to individual churches. Except, of course, for the known fact that Patriotic American Jesus never goes anywhere without his M-16. So how can they expect him to show up for Mass without it?

"Intuitively, we understand that acts of violence, destruction, and murder are antithetical to the message and person of Jesus Christ and have no rightful place in our society, especially sacred places," the bishops said just before the law went into effect on Tuesday.

"We ask that all people seriously consider not carrying weapons into church buildings as a sign of reverence for these sacred spaces," they said.

The statement, issued by Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki and four other bishops, said a decision on whether to ban weapons was up to individual churches.

Minnesota went through all this years ago when our concealed-carry law passed, and the result was that most public establishments just put up signs banning guns. That made it difficult to carry one around with you if you planned on going into just about any business, church, or public building. At the same time, the Minnesota law hasn't caused any of the problems that its opponents warned about when it went through. Our law has worked by upholding the principle of individual rights - it lets people with valid permits carry guns, but at the same time gives business owners the right to keep people with them out if they so choose.

Still, if churches start banning weapons in Wisconsin Patriotic American Jesus is going to be pissed. And since he carries an M-16, that's never a good thing.

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