Christian Headlines writes that two months after the deadliest church shooting in US history, federal authorities have begun an effort to prepare for another deadly situation.
US attorney's offices in Colorado, North Carolina, and Massachusetts have created security workshops for houses of worship in the aftermath of the November Texas church shooting which left more than two dozen Christians dead. To be sure, this isn't necessarily a national campaign, but it does reflect that it is a priority to the Trump administration to get government involved in combatting anti-terrorism, especially as it relates to the protection of religious institutions in the United States.
The response, according to Christian Headlines, has been very strong. In fact, more than 300 attendees turned out for a meeting on January 11 in Taunton, Mass, where several representatives from the federal, state, and local agencies covered active shooter threats.
Religious institutions can, unfortunately, become easy and frequent targets of terrorism. In 2015 and 2016, a troubling 38% of all terrorist attacks in the United States were strikes on religious figures or institutions. This figure represents more attacks than on any other sector of society, including government.
Many congregations have taken steps to ensure better security at their churches. Many larger religious institutions and largely-populated churches have implemented trained security who are ready to respond to an active shooter of terrorism threat. Moreover, many security firms report an increase in demand from faith communities since the Texas attack.
As an example, Christian Headlines tells the story of a North Baptist Church in Brockton. Since November, ushers have been locking all doors as soon as worship begins. A laptop in the pulpit enables security to see through the building and outside via 15 security cameras. If the doorbell rings during worship, security is able to see precisely who is there.
“My phone is on the pulpit, ready to rumble,” said an official from the church. “The closer we can work with the authorities, the better off we’ll be in the long run.”
WBRC reports that churches throughout Alabama are evaluating how to revamp their security plans. Much of the discussion, furthermore, is the result of worry after the Texas shooting in November.
Safety experts and local law enforcement are wondering whether pastors should be equipped with a gun. If not, they are wondering whether somebody — perhaps a professional security team — should be armed and making sure that the room is safe.
Throughout the country, local news is reporting about the effort of local churches to increase their security abilities. Fox Carolina reports that a multi-day conference about protecting churches from violence is coming to Greenville County in February. Sheepdogs Seminars, an organization that discusses church safety practices, will be meeting at Covenant United Methodist Church on Old Spartanburg Road on February 23 and 24.
Do you think that government should be doing something to protect religious institutions from terrorist-related violence? Let us know what you think. In recent news, Bill Nye is under fire for his decision to attend the State of the Union address.