A church in Pennsylvania is asking members of the parish to bring their semi-automatic weapons to a special service next week. According to the New York Daily News, the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania plans to hold a blessing ceremony for the weapons.
The church's website calls on heterosexual couples to attend the "Cosmic True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humanity Cheon Il Guk Book of Life Registration Blessing" for a “Perfection Level” Cheon Il Guk Book of Life Registration Blessing."
As part of the ceremony, the church invited couples to bring their "AR15 semiautomatic rifle or equivalents such as an AK semiautomatic rifle, representing both the intent and the ability to defend one’s family" People who do not have a gun or are unable to transport a gun legally are asked to buy a $700 gift card to show their intent to purchase a weapon in the future.
The church says the guns represent "a Foundation of Faith and Substance to unite with the Second King who is advancing God’s providence at this time."
The church has invited law enforcement to attend to ensure safety, and according to The Times-Tribune, said that "all of the weapons in the ceremony will be checked to make sure they are unloaded."
Richard A. Panzer, who serves as the president of the church, said the ceremony is not in response to the school shooting in Florida and added that lives could have been saved if teachers were armed.
“Regarding the school shootings, if any of the teachers had been allowed to carry a firearm, many lives could have been saved. Several states have passed legislation to allow exactly that.”
Panzer said he expects around one hundred couples from around the world to attend the ceremony.
Not everybody in the community is happy about the event. WNEP reports that parents are concerned because the church is down the street from an elementary school and school will be in session during the ceremony, which will start at 10 am. One parent told the news station, she would consider keeping her child home on Wednesday as a precaution.
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