Legislature takes aim at passing 'Guns for God'
by Dick Yarbrough
January 29, 2014 12:37 AM | 2152 views | 14 14 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dick Yarbrough
Dick Yarbrough
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American humorist Will Rogers once said, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” Ol’ Will would have loved the Georgia Legislature. They are the gift that keeps on giving.

Our intrepid public servants believe they have identified the Number One issue that has vexed “We the Unwashed” for far too long in Georgia: Being allowed to bring guns to church. Guns for God.

The bad news is that most of us don’t believe being allowed to bring concealed weapons to church is the Number One issue vexing us right now. Given a moment, we could probably think of several things that vex us more — like taxes, health care costs and the cozy relationship between legislators and lizard-loafered lobbyists. That doesn’t seem to matter to the boys and girls under the Gold Dome. They are determined to make Guns for God a reality to appease the powerful gun lobby.

No Republican worth his or her salt wants to be accused of being soft on the Second Amendment and that includes the right to bear arms in God’s House. So they are pushing a sweeping gun bill which would include guns in church. When we strap on our bandoliers and head off to Sunday school, they want us to remember who to thank come election time.

If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir softly humming “God Bless America” in the background as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston exhort their colleagues to do the patriotic thing and make Guns for God a reality so that we will never again have to enter a house of worship without being locked-and-loaded. This is particularly important in Christian churches where Jesus teaches us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, especially those with a .357 Magnum.”

I haven’t discussed Guns for God with Dr. Gil Watson, the World’s Greatest Preacher, but I assume he can’t be too thrilled with the idea. Not only does he face the continuing challenge of trying to save my sorry soul, now he’s got to worry about the prospects of a shootout halfway between the “Gloria Patri” and the Offertory.

I hope our legislators have considered the fact that Guns for God is going to mean fundamental curriculum changes in divinity schools and seminaries across the land. Future religious leaders will not only be expected to be proficient in the Old Testament, they are also going to have to master the disassembly of a Glock 29 SF. (“OK, students. That’s enough about the Book of Isaiah for today. Please get your .45s out and let’s talk about the rotating takedown lever and the M&P tactical sight.”)

A recent poll in the Atlanta Newspapers says 72 percent of us don’t want guns in church. According to the paper, the responses were generally consistent among rural and urban residents, as well as those who identified themselves as conservative, independent and liberal.

Who cares? Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) majority whip in the State House of Representatives, said that he and his colleagues don’t pay that much attention to polls. They are too busy having their strings pulled by the gun lobby.

Our intrepid public servants were set to arm our college kids, too, and to put the burden on the institutions’ presidents to make the final decision as to whether or not they wanted a bunch of hormone-laden kids strolling around campus twirling their six guns. Then, the lawmakers discovered that foisting that decision off on the presidents was unconstitutional. Which begs the question: If lawmakers are so all-fired anxious to get guns into our state colleges and universities, why were they trying to pass the buck to the college presidents?

As for bringing guns to church, a Federal Appeals Court shot down that idea in 2012 and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on that decision. I guess that means carrying guns in court probably won’t fly, either. Dang. Gun advocates just can’t get a break.

Before you get your camos in a wad, I support the Second Amendment but I would rather see our legislators recalibrate and take a shot first at telling us how they are going to curb our state’s shameful record of child abuse. We have lost a lot more kids to violence in Georgia than we have lost churchgoers from gunfights.

To paraphrase Will Rogers, Guns for God is a joke and a bad one, at that.

Reach Dick Yarbrough at yarb2400@bellsouth.net; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139; online at dickyarbrough.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb
Comments
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the rev
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January 31, 2014
I can't figure out if this is supposed to be a serious column or humorous. I guess it really doesn't matter as it fails in both regards.

I have yet to understand what people dislike so much about giving houses of worship the right to decide what happens on their private property.

Nice finish with the "but I support the Second Amendment" comment. You clearly don't.
k0pier
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January 30, 2014
Over 40 other states allow people with licenses to carry guns into church. Churches are not free of crime. Simply run a search for "Church attack" and you'll see that churches are the subject of the attacks by crazies the same as anywhere else.

Also churches can still prohibit firearms under this law and force anyone carrying one to leave (the same as any other private property owner in GA). This bill will simply allow churches who want to allow carry (and yes, there are quite a few of them) to do so.

"Before you get your camos in a wad, I support the Second Amendment but"

You know what they say about "but" don't you? When you see but in a sentence you can pretty much ignore whatever comes before that word...
Cobb Taxpayer
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January 30, 2014
Guns in schools and churches, just a another dumb idea !

Any of my legislators voting for guns in churches or schools will lose my vote - forever !
DrewD
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January 31, 2014
So it's completely OK to you to not be allowed to protect yourself? I guess you believe that once a bad guy bursts into a building, that he will not commit any violent acts since you called the police? Bullets are stopped by a 911 call after all right?
MoreGunsLessCrime
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January 31, 2014
Well it's a good thing that this bill does NEITHER. But then again I would seriously doubt you've read the actual bill just as it's apparent the author of this piece of drivel hasn't either...
MoreGunsLessCrime
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January 30, 2014
This bill has nothing to do with whether or not you choose to bring your gun to church or not.

This bill leaves that decision up to the individual church to determine whether or not they will allow it on their PRIVATE PROPERTY rather than be told by the state what they must comply with.

I don't understand why this distinction escapes folks. It's pretty clear really.

Churches should have the same private property rights as any other property owner and this includes whether or not they allow guns.

Phillip Evans
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January 30, 2014
It isn't the church building that's sacred, it's the lives of the people that are in them.

I carry my gun to keep my life and the lives around me safe from criminals that would do us harm.

Why should I forfeit that ability while worshiping my Creator in a church? The same Creator who wants us to do good as we are able to?

Remember the Golden Rule? Remember brother's keeper? Those are good reasons to carry - anywhere.
JS22
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January 30, 2014
There is so much hyperbole and disinformation in this article that it makes my head hurt.

Current law is an infringement on a church's private property rights. This law returns those rights to where they belong - the church. Don't want guns in church? Find a church that exercises it's private property rights and does not allow them. Just like if you don't want to eat at a restaurant that allows guns, find one that will trespass a patron who carries. Simple, and it gets the government out of the church, where it doesn't belong in the first place.
DrewD
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January 30, 2014
You are obviously missing the point. What the legislation does (among other things) is return private property rights to the Church and bar owners. The legislation leaves it up to the owners, congregation and pastors to determine if they want to allow or not. Stop blowing it out of proportion! You claim to be Pro2a, but are poo'ing on the best bill to come out of Ga legislature in several years.
am1
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January 30, 2014
As a person with your credentials, I am shocked that someone like myself needs to point out to you that 47 states currently allow firearms in houses of worship. Only 3 states still insist on infringing upon the private property rights of a church and Georgia is one of them. Now,that's embarrassing. This is not as outlandish and whacked-out proposal as you would like folks to believe. It might interest your readers to know why guns are banned in Georgia churches. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, freed blacks were having a very tough go of it in the reconstructed south. Harassed and harmed from hostile white populations and supremacy groups some black men felt they had no recourse but to combat these threats on their own (since they were going to get NO help from the state or Legislature) They began to organize at their local churches (in most cases, they were armed). Well, that definitely caused a reaction by the Legislature. Sha-zam!_ guns are illegal in church. Its a law based in racism and needs to go. That's why the rest of the country lets churches decide for themselves.
aM1
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January 30, 2014
What you seem so adept at avoiding is this changes absolutely nothing for a church that wants to prohibit weapons. If the bill becomes law, any church wishing to prohibit firearms would be able to do that as a private property owner. There is nothing in this bill forcing any church to allow weapons. Some honest clarity in you reporting would be appreciated. No doubt, there are the huge mega-churches in the metro (who can afford their own leo off duty security) who will oppose this change. That's fine, if their leaders want to play the part of biblical hypocrites by touting the separation of church and state on abortion and other social issues, but welcoming the violation of the same on this issue, so be it. If they wish to hide behind current law, it only serves to highlight where their devotions really lie, with the almighty dollar (whom Christ threw out). If a church is allowed to vote on the issue, it may cost some membership numbers ($$$)- that would never do. It is a much more convenient circumstance to hide behind current law and say "hey, even if we wanted to allow it or at least arm some deacons, its against the law, so its out of our hands." Lets get the state out of the church house, shall we? The state has more pressing problems, as you say. Let each church decide what it wants to do about allowing/prohibiting weapons.
Bubba in Decatur
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January 30, 2014
Amen, Brother Yarbrough! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition takes on a new meaning! These guys just continue to amaze us with their shenanigans.
smith & wesson
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January 30, 2014
Conservatives worship both God, guns and the NRA, all are infallible, what's the problem combining the them in the same house of worship?
Freedom of Religion
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January 30, 2014
You should probably spend as much time reading the bill as thinking of clever comments.

HB875 bill doesn't force any church to permit the carry of firearms inside. Quite the opposite, it takes control of the issue from the state and puts it back with the church (where it belongs). From there the members of the church can decide decide if they do (or do not) want firearms on private property owned by the church.

In summary:

- You should support HB875 if you think the CHURCH should decide what happens inside the church.

- You should NOT support HB875 if you think the STATE should dictate to the church what happens within the walls of a church.
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