Church asks worshipers to bring AR-15 guns to be blessed near elementary school

A Pennsylvania church is holding a blessing ceremony for AR-15 assault rifles not far from a local elementary school.

The blessing will take place at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland next Wednesday morning, and around 600 people are expected to attend.

The church is known for its pro-gun stance, and for their support of the AR-15 in particular, believes that the rifle is the Biblical “rod of iron.”

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The church members have been instructed to bring their rifles or proof that they will be purchasing their rifles to the ceremony, according to Newsweek.

“If unable to purchase and legally transport such a ‘rod of iron’ because of laws barring the purchase of weapons, or other reasons, couples are invited to purchase a $700 gift card from a gun store, as such evidence of their intent to purchase a ‘rod of iron’ in the future,” their website said.

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Tim Elder, the Unification Sanctuary’s director of world missions, confirmed that the church members believe AR-15s are mentioned in the Book of Revelations in the Bible. He said that the church was taking steps to check the weapons at the door and would unload and tie the weapons with zip ties.

But Elder said that the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last week had not dampened their belief that the AR-15s were the “rod of iron.” In fact, the shooting only reaffirmed their beliefs.

“Now more than ever, good people need to stand up and claim for themselves the tools that can be used to stop that kind of evil,” he said.

But not everyone in the community is thrilled with the event, especially since  Wallenpaupack South Elementary School just down the road from the church.

“I wish they didn’t have it at all,” parent Kendra Hanor told WNEP-TV. “I don’t think there is a good time to have it, especially this close.”

As the nation is still reeling from the tragedy in Florida, and as teenagers around the country protest for gun reform, the AR-15 blessing doesn’t seem like a good idea.

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Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those supporting them react after the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those supporting them react as they watch the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sheryl Acquaroli, (L), and Ashley Santoro, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School react as they watch the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, raises his hand as part of a move to make members of the House of Representatives have their vote recorded during his request to have a bill banning assault rifles pulled from committee and brought immediately to the House for a vote at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, looks on his computer at gun control bills moving through the Senate as he talks with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those that support their cause, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School walk by a sign in the Senate office building on the way to speak with Florida state legislators, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School advocating for a change in gun control laws listen during a meeting with Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Florence Yared, 17, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, waits in a hallway to speak with Florida state legislators about legislation that could prevent future tragedies, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
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