Sanctuary Church in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, is holding a ceremony to bless members who own AR-15 rifles, which the church considers to be the “rod of iron” mentioned in the Bible.
According to ABC News affiliate Newswatch 16, the Sanctuary Church is run by the Rev. Sean Moon, the son of Sun Myung Moon, who created the Unification Church.
A ceremony, which was scheduled before the shooting in Florida, invites people to bring their AR-15 rifles to be given the “perfection level” blessing.
According to the Rod of Iron Ministries website, those who do not own an AR-15 or AK design rifle will receive the “Top of the Growth Stage Blessing.” They can also watch the video of the ceremony with their rifle later to complete the blessing.
“This will be a big thing for us. It’s a new stage for us because it incorporates the rod of iron, as it is in Revelations,” church leader Tim Elder told Newswatch 16. “Revelations talks about the returning Christ ruling with the rod of iron.”
Revelation 2:27 states, “They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots,” and Elder said in “today’s term,” that iron rod is the AR-15.
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According to Fox 56, the church is also hosting a dinner where it will raffle off an AR-15 rifle. The blessing ceremony is set to take place down the street from an elementary school, and given the proximity in time to the Florida shooting, many residents are unsettled.
Ed Gragert, the co-founder of the Delaware Valley Democratic Club, called it “obscene” that some are “glorifying” the weapon while people nationwide are in mourning.
Liz Zoccola told Newswatch 16 that she is considering keeping her child home from school on the day of the ceremony.
Elder explained to the Associated Press (AP) that weapons will be unloaded, secured, and checked at the door, and unlike detractors, he claimed this is the perfect time to continue with the ceremony.
“Now more than ever, good people need to stand up and claim for themselves the tools that can be used to stop that kind of evil,” he said.
Since the church is not breaking a law, state police will not send troopers to the event, although they are aware of it.
The AP reported the Unification Church is often described as a cult, and it encourages members to take up arms to be able to defend their family and community.
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