First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas

Rev. John Buttrick: Mass shootings create a dilemma for churches

Rev. John Buttrick, a retired pastor of the United Church of Christ, writes in the Concord Monitor about the hard place that congregations find themselves in as they try to respond to the gun violence at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas:

The Rev. William Sloan Coffin wrote in his book, Credo, “Will we be scared to death or scared to life? (Religious communities) being challenged to live with enormous insecurity . . . could become centers of creative and courageous thinking.” This potential of creative and courageous thinking suggests that there are no guarantees in security devised by human beings. There is always risk that cannot be eliminated by cordoning off property, asking for ID and fingerprinting. Also, it is incongruous to the mission of communities of faith to hire armed security, encourage looking for suspicious persons and carry personal guns into worship services. The choice between stringent security and a welcoming community for all people seems to be a choice between death and life: death to a humane society or life-risking love of neighbor.

Read the letter here.

If you’d like to continue this conversation, please RSVP here for the NH Council of Churches event at Heritage Baptist Church on December 9.