These churchgoers brought AR-15s to a blessing ceremony. Hundreds of worshippers exchanged or renewed their wedding vows and dozens brought their rifles to the ceremony — some even wore crowns of bullets.
One churchgoer stated, “It’s a holy day that we celebrate as a blessing of couples. We firmly believe that God created all creatures with the ability to defend themselves, including us.”
The Sanctuary Church is an offshoot of the unification church, which critics describe as a cult. Sanctuary Church leaders believe that AR-15s symbolize the “rod of iron” from the book of revelation. The church asked members to bring their rifles for their vows and said they see guns as a “religious accoutrement.” The church said it planned the ceremony before the Parkland shooting in which 17 were killed and 15 were injured by a shooter with an AR-15.
Still, Reverend Sean Moon used the event to push for armed school staff and a “peace militia.” The church has stated that it believes these weapons could have saved lives in Parkland. Although the church reported none of the guns were loaded, a nearby school moved classes to another facility.
“We have kindergarten through 5th grade kids here and getting off a bus and seeing additional armed presence was not the environment we want our kids in.” Superintendent Michael Silsby stated.