Thursday, January 7, 2016

Area congregations weigh impact of guns in churches

From Houston-

Almost a week after the state's open carry law went into effect, religious leaders in Houston are still deciding if openly displayed handguns ‑ recently legalized in Texas ‑ will be welcome in their Sunday-morning pews.

With memories of last summer's deadly shooting spree at a black Charleston, S.C., church still fresh, religious leaders are split on whether the overt presence of armed parishioners would enhance or impair worshipers' safety. While many area congregations autonomously will make the decision to ban or accept open carry, by mid-week at least two major denominations had issued recommendations to member churches.

Contending that "the open carry of handguns on church property is inconsistent with an atmosphere of prayer and worship," leaders of the United Methodist Church's 676-congregation Texas Annual Conference called on member churches to prohibit visibly displayed firearms. Similarly, the United Church of Christ's Houston Association advocated banning openly holstered pistols. The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, bishop of the 160-church Episcopal Diocese of Texas this week was reviewing an update on a current diocese policy banning weapons from churches and schools.

More here-

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