Pennsylvania church holds AR-15 blessing ceremony
by Avery Anapol – 02/28/18 05:07 PM EST
A Pennsylvania church on Wednesday held a blessing ceremony for couples and their AR-15 rifles.
The World Peace and Unification Sanctuary hosted the event, at which couples wearing white dresses and dark suits renewed their vows and received blessings on their unloaded firearms, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The religious group, considered to be a “cult” by many, is led by the Rev. Sean Moon, who prayed at the ceremony for “a kingdom of peace police and peace militia where the citizens, through the right given to them by almighty God to keep and bear arms, will be able to protect one another and protect human flourishing.”
The group views AR-15s as religious symbols, and has previously held events featuring the rifles. An AR-15 is the weapon police say was used to kill 17 people and injure 14 others in the school shooting at a Florida high school.
A small group of protestors gathered outside the sanctuary, with one calling the attendees “an armed religious cult.”
One attendee of the ceremony told the Tribune that she and her husband own an AR-15 to protect themselves from “sickos and evil psychopaths.”
“People have the right to bear arms, and in God’s kingdom, you have to protect that,” she said. “You have to protect against evil.”
A nearby elementary school closed in preparation for the event, instead taking students to a school 15 miles away as a safety precaution.
In the wake of the Florida shooting, lawmakers have grappled with how to act on gun control legislation, with some proposing a ban on assault-style weapons like the AR-15.
President Trump on Wednesday pushed lawmakers during a bipartisan meeting at the White House to raise the minimum age for purchasing such rifles from 18 to 21.