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Pennsylvania Church Holds Marriage Ceremony with Guns
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Sanctuary Church

Summary: A Pennsylvania church, known as the Sanctuary Church, held a marriage ceremony with AR-15’s as their key accessory.

World Peace and Unification Sanctuary Church in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania held a unique ceremony Wednesday. The church celebrated the Bible reference “rod of iron” in the form of semi-automatic rifles. Members of the Wayne County church, who believe in the God-given right to self-defense, attended a marriage blessing ceremony.


The church, which believes the AR-15 symbolizes the “rod of iron” from the Book of Revelation, encouraged its members to bring their weapons to the commitment ceremony, according to The Times-Tribune. The members wore gold and silver crowns during the ceremony. Their guns were zip-tied through and around open chambers at the entrance and no ammunition was allowed in the building. Despite the safety precautions, the public was not willing to take any chances. A local elementary school was closed and its students sent to other schools.

The church’s director of world missions, Tim Elder, said, “Today’s ceremony is a marriage blessing for couples having asked to attend with crowns and AR-15 rifles as religious accoutrements. It is not a blessing of inanimate firearms.”

Protestors also showed how they felt about the unusual ceremony and its timing. Just two weeks ago, 17 students were killed during a mass shooting at a Florida high school. Since then, anti-gun activists have been calling for a ban on AR-15’s and other assault style rifles.

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The ceremony has been planned for months, long before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Reverend Hyung Jin Sean Moon led the ceremony. His late father, Sun Myung Moon, founded the Unification Church in the 50s. The church focuses on a conservative lifestyle, which includes opposing alternative lifestyles. Moon calls himself the “Second King” and an heir to the “True Father.”

The church, under Moon’s direction, encourages members to arm themselves in self-defense of their families and communities. The ceremony featured Moon and his wife kneeling at the altar. She handed him a rifle while Elder said, “This rod of iron, spoken of in the Bible, as the means by which Christ returning will rule his kingdom.” Moon followed with the blessing, “Father, we come to celebrate the gifts of family, the marriage, the gift of royalty that you bestow upon us, as you state in scripture  … let no man take thy crown.”

After the ceremony, Sanctuary Church members talked with the media about the ceremony. Lewis Pearlman of Philadelphia said, “There’s two sides to the issue in the country, as we well know. There’s some people in the country that say we should not carry arms, and there’s some people (saying) that we have the right to bear arms. I’m of … the opinion that we do have the right to bear arms, and only for the purpose of protecting and defending our families, not to make war. It’s a weapon of defense, to keep the peace. Amen.”

Jim Stephens of Maryland added, “If someone, like in Texas, they come into a church and start shooting people, the neighborly thing to do is get your gun and go kill that guy. Unfortunately, there’s evil and we have to be able to protect ourselves in our community.” He believes law-abiding gun owners are “the good guys” in the fight against evil.

Susan Brunhofer noted, “This is a time when we really need to honor the God gift of life that we’re given, and the way to honor that is to protect it, and even at the cost of our life if it’s necessary. Hopefully, I will never have to use this gun. No one wants to use the gun, but we can and that’s the point – we can.”

Do you think the ceremony was insensitive? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about gun control, read these articles:

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