Pennsylvania Church Plans "Blessing" Ceremony for Couples and Their AR-15s

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There have been many reactions over the past several days to the horrific killing of 17 people at a Parkland, Florida high school.

The survivors of this incident are calling for gun reform, many politicians are offering up thoughts and prayers and the President wants to arm as many well-trained teacher as he can with concealed weapons.

Then there's World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania.

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It wants to essentially marry gun holders and their AR-15s in a special "blessing" ceremony this week.

For real.

According to a press release from this controversial organization, the AR-15 symbolizes the "rod of iron" in the biblical book of Revelation.

It is there encouraging couples (only heterosexual couples, we might as well add) to bring the guns to a commitment ceremony Wednesday morning.

(The AR-15 is in the news because it is the gun used in the aforementioned Florida high school massacre; it has also been the weapon of choice used in the past by many other school shooters.)

If you can’t bring this gun in for the ceremony, the church implores its members to buy a $700 gift certificate from a gun store that can be blessed instead.


big gun

The church - which has been labeled a racist, homophobic and antisemitic hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center - is an offshoot of the Unification Church that was founded by Sun Myung Moon in the 1950s.

Oh, and it is also located a half mile from an elementary school.

This school has closed its doors on Wednesday in response and will bus students to a different location as a safety precaution.

This is how the church describes its gun ceremony on its website:

These actions to participate with crowns and a rod of iron/gift certificate are signs of attendance, sovereignty and vigilance to protect God’s coming nation of Cheon Il Guk.

They are also a Foundation of Faith and Substance to unite with the Second King who is advancing God’s providence at this time.

To not do so, if one is legally and personally able, would be a sign of great disrespect to the Second King of Cheon Il Guk and to True Father himself.

As the parable of the Ten Virgins spoken of in Matthew 25:1-13 explains, believers should be prepared internally and externally to receive the grace of the bridegroom’s arrival so they can be welcomed into the “wedding banquet.

dude with gun

Since this February 14 shooting, there has been a movement across the country to at least raise the minimum age for purchasing an AR-15 from 18 years old to 21 years old.

There's also been a movement to outlaw purchasing of the gun entirely in some circles.

But the President does not seem open to this latter idea.

Richard Panzer, president of the church in question here, says this event was planned prior to the Florida high school tragedy.

“All of the weapons in the ceremony will be checked to make sure they are unloaded, with a zip tie so that no bullets can be inserted,” he says, adding:

“We are inviting local and state police to be on the premises, so that everything goes safely.”

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