This is a very sad development. For a few reasons.
- Some Christians supported and fought for this bill to be passed. It wasn't handed down from the legislature: it was actively sought.
- It should go without saying that Jesus himself spoke more than once- and forcefully- about violence and his disciples. ("Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.")
- Christian churches have always been places of refuge. In times past, even criminals could flee and find shelter- if only temporarily- inside of churches. In fact, even today many churches have red doors. In some places, red doors meant that that place was a place of refuge.
- For Christians, a church is more than a building. It is a place "between the worlds" where we can encounter God in a very specific, meaningful way. For sacramental Christians, a church is the literal sanctuary of our Lord (present in the Tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament). Church architecture reflects the reality of this sacred space.
I cannot help but think of King David when I consider the thought of weapons in churches.
David said to Solomon, "My son, I had planned to build a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood in my sight on the earth. See, a son shall be born to you; he shall be a man of peace. I will give him peace from all his enemies on every side; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for my name. He shall be a son to me, and I will be a father to him, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever."
I Chronicles 22:7-10 NRSV
(I did get a measure of enjoyment from looking up the scripture passage above, because it was the first passage I looked up in my newest Bible.)
Pax et bonum