When the news broke last week that a church in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania would invite couples to bring their AR-15 style assault rifles in to be blessed by church leaders, many people reacted with a shrug and perhaps a chortle at the foolish ways of the religious gun worshipers who somehow seem to be able to reconcile their lust for weapons with the admonition “Thou shalt not kill” without any sense of irony whatsoever.
Now, however, it looks like the ceremony to be held this Wednesday at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary is affecting students at a nearby elementary school by forcing them to move classes to avoid being close to a large group of armed gun nuts.
According to The Associated Press, the gun blessing will be held about a half-mile from Wallenpaupack South Elementary School and is expected to draw hundreds of couples.
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On Friday, Michael Silsby, the superintendent of the Wallenpaupack Area School District, wrote a letter to area parents saying that while “there is no direct threat to our school or community,” concerns about parking, traffic and the “nature of the event” has led to a decision to bus students to schools about 15 miles away to avoid the possibility of being so close to so many weapons whose sole purpose is to kill people.
The Unification Sanctuary is a breakaway faction of the Unification Church founded by the late Reverend Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah, and is led by his son, the Rev.Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon. The main branch of the Unification Church has denounced the ceremony saying that its theology is dedicated to world peace and not weapons.
“It saddens us that Reverend Moon’s son has chosen to separate himself and walk in opposition to his parent’s legacy building world peace,” the Rev. Richard Buessing, president of the Unification Church, said in a statement.
The younger Rev. Moon believes the AR-15 symbolizes the “rod of iron” from the biblical book of Revelations, and is encouraging couples to bring the weapons to the commitment ceremony.
School superintendent Michael Silsby is not quite as sure. He announced that there will be enhanced security at the school all week long and told parents:
“We respect your decision if you choose to keep your children home for the day.”
Allowing delusional gun worship to interfere with the education of an entire community’s children is a social priority that not many parents would agree with, but hopefully, the ridicule that the story brings upon the event will help raise the outcry for stricter gun regulations to an even higher level.