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'Rod of Iron': Church blesses AR-15, other guns in ceremony

Posted at 8:43 AM, Mar 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-01 08:43:35-05

NEWFOUNDLAND, PA (WFMZ/WSVN/CNN) - A Pennsylvania community is split over a church ceremony blessing guns like the one used in the Florida high school shooting.

Members were encouraged to bring their AR-15 rifles to a commitment ceremony prompting a nearby school to move classes.

The members of Sanctuary Church in Wayne County entered wearing crowns and carrying their rifles.

They said they're following God's will to honor the 2nd Amendment.

The mass marriage and blessing ceremony was led by Pastor Sean Moon who believes the AR-15 symbolizes the "Rod of Iron" in the Bible's book of Revelation.

Church members, some wearing army fatigues, sang “God Bless America” and when prompted, placed their weapons on their laps, pointing at the ceiling.

"I believe it’s a celebration of the right to bear arms which we believe is a human right," said Moon who brandished a gold-plated rifle.

Guns were zip-tied at the door and no ammunition was permitted inside.

"Christians just feel they have to arm themselves for protection,” said John Gidney of the Unification Church. “The way the world is going today, it’s just a form of protection for us."

But others protested the ceremony.

"We do not believe in guns in church,” said Newfoundland resident Esther Clayton. “Not in our town."

The ceremony prompted the area school district to move students at a nearby elementary school to other campuses.

The church said the ceremony was scheduled months before the shooting in Parkland, FL school that took 17 lives.

But naysayers said the timing is tone deaf.

" It's a giant ‘F U’ to the parents who lost loved ones," said Kathryn Dalton who protested the service.

Teddy Hose traveled all the way from San Francisco to protest.

"I just see it as dangerous,” said Hose who described the group as a cult. “Putting guns into the hands of children. Getting uncomfortable with it. Its messed up."

Hose said his family was involved in a similar church run by the Moon family in the 90's, but left after his mother was accidentally shot and left paralyzed from the waist down.”

Moon's family runs a weapons manufacturing company in Pike County.

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