A “Holy Bible” Stirs Controversy Among Evangelicals

Elizabeth macbride

Reverend Rob Schenck held up a shiny leather Bible in front of a crowd of Christian leaders, Washingtonians and the media.

“I wish I could read this,” he said unzipping the top. “But … “

Instead of pages, the Holy Bible contained a pistol.

It was a toy gun – of course – because the event took place at the National Press Club. Holy Bible case is one of a growing number of concealed carry items on the market , from cases to handbags to Bibles. Since 2011, there have been more than 8 million concealed port permits issued, and a growing market for ways to hide guns and transport them to places, now including churches.

Schenck was using the case for its shock value, to argue that evangelical Christians with deep allegiance to conservative political doctrines have gone astray. “I have many pastors who say they come to church ready to kill” he said. What does that say to people who come to church, he asked? “If they do the wrong thing, they will be killed.”

Unsurprisingly, the maker of the gun holster Schenck brandished does not view its creation as controversial, especially following massive church shootings. “It doesn’t strike me as offensive if someone wants to save a life with it,” said Steve Pagac, founder of Tuscon, Arizona. Garrison grip in 2010 and started the Bible-themed case in January. “I’m going to ask the churches to call and order 10.”

The article, deeply offensive to one and important, perhaps even vital to the other, seems symbolic of the divides that are beginning to appear on the issue of firearms and gun rights among some practicing Americans. . For decades, evangelicals have embraced conservative doctrines, including the Second Amendment, and have been among the strongest supporters of the Republican Party and, lately, the Trump administration.

Schenck is a high profile defector from the Republican Party. He was a longtime minister who started a major non-profit organization, Faith and action in the nation’s capital, which serves the conservative leaders of Congress. Its cross-border support of Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, a person named by Obama who served as General Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, was crucial in her confirmation. Johnson Cook acknowledged that at the event, as they discussed Schenck’s book, Expensive grace.

These are his conversion from Judaism to Christianity as a young man, his membership in the conservative evangelical movement – he went to prison for protesting against abortion – and his more recent rediscovery of “the faith. , hope and love ”and the rejection of certain principles of conservatism, including support for the Second Amendment, and opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. He has now become an anti-gun activist.

The revelation of the gun case was a shocking moment in a thoughtful event – which unfolded amid a religious storm surrounding the Trump administration and in particular its policy of separating children from their families. parents at the border. Last week, the Southern Baptists elected a new roster of leaders who could be more centrist; Schenck said there was growing but quiet opposition to the administration, even among evangelicals.

Political and ethical controversies seem a world away from Pagac, at his home in Arizona. After a long career in real estate and investing, he suffered an aneurysm. The medical bills forced him into bankruptcy, he said, coughing deeply as he spoke. “Cold summer,” he said.

His gun accessories business was his answer to start over and do something that allowed him to be creative. It also sells a safety device for pistols and semi-automatic revolvers, holsters and other accessories.

(Large public health studies are uncertain whether concealment wearing laws have an impact on violent crime, according to David Hemenway, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, in his book Private weapons Public health, but the best studies suggest that violent crime rates increase slightly when more people wear.)

Pagac’s Bible-themed carrying cases, which he launched in January along with other book-themed cases, are his best-selling items to date, he said. He wouldn’t say exactly how many he sold. With sales of $ 1.3 million, Garrison Grip has two part-time employees.

Pagac, 67, said he supported his elderly mother and sister with the business.

Jesus is behind the idea of ​​concealed porterage, his site says.

“What would Jesus say about concealment and self-defense with a gun?

“If you have asked this question yourself, you may already know that there are already 900,000 Bible discussions on GOOGLE on this same subject.

Search: “Carry concealed, biblical”

We believe that self-defense in any form would be approved when we stand up for ourselves and our loved ones. “

About Mary Moser

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