Churches expect more members to attend armed after mass shootings
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV/Gray News) - A couple of alleged hate crimes committed over the weekend at a grocery store in New York and a church in California are leaving people on edge.
Some churches say they are expecting more members to start arming themselves when coming to worship.
One pastor told WSMV that due to recent violence nationwide, fewer people are coming to church and more are coming armed.
“A lot of people walk in doors now to worship, and they are armed because they are afraid,” Family Affairs Ministries Pastor Glenda Sutton said.
Sutton said violence at churches in recent years has had an impact on her organization.
“There are some sassy sisters holding their babies with pistols in their purses,” Sutton said. “Some grandmas have their bibles and making sure they have enough bullets.”
Sutton said she thinks even more of her members will start carrying after two alleged hate crimes over the weekend in other parts of the country.
On Saturday, 10 Black people were killed in a grocery store shooting in Buffalo, New York. On Sunday, one person was killed in a shooting at a Taiwanese church in Southern California.
“The men and fathers, I am certain, they are going to be more protective of their families,” Sutton said.
Sutton said incidents like these make it harder to welcome new church members.
“Are they here to worship or are they here to hurt me?” Sutton asked. “What social media platforms have they been on?”
Sutton shared her message to others.
“Love the hell out of everyone you encounter,” she said. “Maybe your love you’re sending out might reach the one who might harm somebody.”
Sutton said insurance companies are now requiring those working as armed security in churches be listed on the church’s policy.
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