Guns in churches? Pastors debate church security

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The Texas legislature is considering a law that would allow churches to hire security officers.
Many Wichita Falls churches have security, but not everyone believes armed guards belong in church.
    "If you think you need to have a gun to go to church, or have someone there to guard you, it makes me wonder if we need to test the depth of our faith," Cheryl Murray, Pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church, said. "Maybe we are just sticking our big toe in the shallow end instead of diving all in."
She believes there are more pressing issues for the legislature to tackle than security in churches.
    "The legislature should be spending money, or spending their time and resources, on helping mentally ill people or families with mentally ill and the challenges of that," Murray said. "Getting to the root of the problem."
Jimmy Meeks, a former pastor who now gives seminars on church security, believes its an important issue.
    "What we really encourage the churches to do is to love your people," Meeks said. "Why not love them enough to protect them just like you do for your own family when your at home at night and you lock the doors and close the windows."
Murray believes it's in God's hands.
    "We are people of faith," Murray said. "And faith means risk. We don't have faith and expect to be comfortable and safe all the time."
Meeks has a different take.
    "Fear means that your prepared," Meeks said. "Fearful people are people who are not prepared to respond. Like a kid taking a test in college and he's nervous because he hasn't studied. His fear is justified."
Despite the different views, both believe in love.
    "We need to present ourself to the world as a loving community, inclusive," Murray said. "And we need to be talking about ways to get at the problem. Why are people doing this?"
    "I'm not near as big on the second amendment as I am on the second commandment," Meeks said. "Love your neighbor. Love him enough, in the words of the Apostle Paul, love always protects." 
The bill was just introduced this month and is in the early stages of debate.

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