Churches Urged to Bring in Armed Security

( – Churches are supposed to be places where Americans feel their safest. Unfortunately, that’s not the case any longer. Experts are warning houses of worship to hire security and take other steps to prevent tragedy.

Earlier this month, an armed man walked into a Pennsylvania church and pointed a gun at Pastor Glenn Germany. The gunman tried to fire, but his gun jammed, giving the pastor and another person time to subdue the would-be shooter. The pastor wants to hire armed security for the church now, and he’s not alone. There’s an increased need for security guards and other measures to keep people safe.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security are among those that have recommended churches and other houses of worship take preparedness measures. That includes creating a plan that’s shared with the congregation about what to do in the event of a mass shooting or other violent event, undergoing active shooter training, and speaking to local law enforcement.

The government also has a checklist that houses of worship can print out and have on hand.

In early May, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced a $400 million increase in the federal funds available to secure places of worship. The increase came after a rise in violent threats against Jewish and Muslim Americans. In recent years, Christians have also faced more threats of harm.

Schumer said there’s a “persistent cascade of intolerance and even violence” that demands a stronger response. Churches, synagogues, and others had until May 21 to apply for the first round of funds.

The violence threatening houses of worship isn’t new. There have been several horrific attacks in recent years.

  • In 2012, a gunman killed seven at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
  • The 2015 Charleston, South Carolina shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during Bible study killed nine.
  • In 2017, a gunman opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and killed 26, including an unborn child and its mother.
  • The 2018 Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, left 11 dead.

Those are some of the massacres, but there have also been many, many threats. Christian churches were targeted en masse after the Supreme Court overturned federal abortion rights. Recently, Jewish people are facing threats from antisemites who are angry about the war in Gaza.

Pastor Kevin Nelson of Calvary Baptist Church in San Antonio is also considering armed security. He told CNN, “Nothing is sacred, secure, or safe.”

Copyright 2024,