Just Walt's Mental Meanderings

Walter Blevins

Walter Blevins
Vista, California, USA
August 22
I'm a 60 year old guy who lives in Vista California with my wife. I spent the 30 years before moving to Cali in Iowa, Wisconsin and North Dakota. And I have 2 grown children, a son and a daughter who live in Virginia and Iowa and a 22 year old step-daughter lives with us here in Vista. I'm a proud grandpa with 2 grandaughters living in Virginia. I like to write about a whole variety of things from my kids to cooking to politics to the car industry to my status as a "Cheap Bastid" and "Old Fart" and just random thoughts. And I really love writing about cooking really good, homecooked comfort food cheap. That's why they call me the Cheap Bastid. By the way--all the stuff I write is my stuff and you can't use it without my official OkeyDokey

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 27, 2009 5:42PM

WTF? Redneck Preacher Invites Flock to Bring Guns to Church

Rate: 17 Flag


Note: While reading this, you may want to be singing or humming the old gospel tune "Give me that old time religion. Give me that old time religion. Give me that old time religion, it's good enough for me." 


New Bethel Church in Louisville, Ky is welcoming “responsible handgun owners” to wear their firearms inside the church Saturday, June 27.  An ad for the event said that there will be a handgun raffle, patriotic music and information on gun safety.


"We're just going to celebrate the upcoming theme of the birth of our nation," said pastor Ken Pagano. "And we're not ashamed to say that there was a strong belief in God and firearms — without that this country wouldn't be here."


Pastor Ken Pagano, New Bethel Church, Louisville, KY


This is the church's way of celebrating the 4th of July and the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, according to Pagano, a former Marine and weapons instructor.
Guns must be unloaded and private security will check visitors at the door of the church.
A network TV Saturday morning news show interviewed Pagano today.  He said during the interview that it was not uncommon during the time when the constitution was being framed for gunracks to be present at a church for parishoners to store their weapon while worshipping.  While that may have made sense in the 18th century, it certainly doesn't today.
Here's a video from Suckstbeyoublog.com with some suggestions for today's festivities at New Bethel Church:

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Yeah I saw this article too and tried to make sense of it. But it always comes back to the fact that the kind of arms allowed limit you to only "kill thy neighbor" and not the kind that would allow you to rain God's fire and brimstone on sinful places, say North Korea or San Francisco. Pesky 2nd amendment!
I guess nothing says "I Love Jesus" like Packin' heat.

But right now, I'm SOOO glad not to live in the same state as that church!
Woo hoo! Let natural selection do its thing. I say if you are so stupid as to tell a bunch of non-thinkers to bring guns to your church and they don't expell you, the gene pool will be better for it. I think we should run in there and say fag or I love satan, or something else to get them inflammed and let them shoot each other. Awesome.
Walter, if they start speaking in tongues, somebody better "duck". But wait, theirs always a guy that can "heal you" right? Idiots.
well, hopefully their security is good enough to make that unloaded bit a reality.

let the pistolwhippings begin!
Yeah, this is SOOOOOO wrong on so many levels that I have a hard time even thinking about it.
Maybe someone will accidentally "flesh wound" the good Pastor.
Nothing serious, just a flesh wound...Please...?
I "live in the same state as that church." Maybe I can offer a little insight into how the "guns & church" thing works. The church was in the white part of Louisville, a democratic city with a sizable university and a large black population for Kentucky. I live two hours away in the Eastern part of the state, but my guess is that the minister is doing the gun thing as a way to thumb his nose at liberals, the University of Louisville, and respectable black opinion. It's hard to over-estimate the extent to which conservative rural whites in KY define themselves against liberals and black people. So, the idea that "liberals will be outraged" must have been a big part of setting up this event.

The other thing at work here is the need to feel like "real Americans." Outside the urban areas of Louisville and Lexington, much of Kentucky doesn't identify very well with modern American life and is extremely insecure as a result. That's one of the reasons for the hysterical patriotism out here. The minister is stressing the similarity between his gun-worshipping congregation and the gun-toting dimension of 18th century life because he's not all that sure about his congregation's connection to contemporary America. In general, rural conservatives are trying to assert a military/gun-owning American identity as an alternative to the visions of multi-cultural progress that dominate contemporary culture. It's not working. Barack Obama dominates the cultural/political landscape. But failure makes the effort more desperate and you can see that desperation in this minister's gun stunt.
Wow - this is lunacy. Ric - your back story on this is interesting also. Reminds me of my daughter's talent show at school where a mother and her daughter dressed up in army fatigues and danced around to the tune "I'm in the Lord's army". Made my skin crawl - I often think these people would secretly like to rewrite the Gospel and have Jesus come down off the cross mowing everyone down with an AK-47.
Points well taken. (Take a look at my name! Obviously I have roots in Kentucky--although I'm NOT Sen. Walter Blevins from West Liberty--my family is actually from about a mile from Plum Levy). However, this posturing from this particular Pastor only serves to reinforce the red-neck, backwoods image. Louisville is supposed to be more urbane than that but, as you described there are other constraints.
Thanks for your comment. The purpose of my post is essentially that this "guns to church" thing seems so damned preposterous on its face and so decidedly "un-christian", at least in my understanding of christianity.
Young women will sometimes wear Confederate flag dresses to proms for the same effect.

Well Walter: Walter Blevins is my state senator. Given that a dumb stunt he helped to pull brought the Republicans into power in the State Senate, I can't say I'm too happy about that. But it's not like I've cursed the name.

Guys like this Louisville pastor get involved in a vicious cycle in which they feel marginal, do things that reinforce the original stereotype, and then feel even more marginal.

In my mind, the best solution is to fight them on their own ground by getting into their Jesus logic, arguing that their guns are more sex fetishes than anything else, and generally trying to fight them on their own terms rather than just reject them as rednecks.

I can't it's a supereffective strategy with adults, but it works with college kids.

An idea for all good "Christians": move to South Dakota or Kentucky or South Carolina or West Virginia or Wyoming or Idaho and pursue your idea of Christianity. All of you. And stay there.

Declare it a "Christian" state. You can beat children and women, institute male supremacy, be the racists you really are, have public floggings and hangings, and do all the fun stuff that demonstrates your kindness, your love for God, your compassion. You can show the world what "Christians" are really about!!

The world needs to see your Christian example, and how better to demonstrate it than to be in your own state with your own "Christian" state government, "Christian" system of education, etc. As for providing jobs, you might want to look into manufacturing weaponry and bombs, too, as such things are amazingly profitable. What better way to show the world your "Christian" love than by supporting yourselves by building bombs? After all, you support Republicans which means supporting the military-corporate complex which means supporting perpetual war. How better to demonstrate your "Christian " love for war and killing than by supporting yourselves via the manufacturing of weaponry?!
The staunchest Second Amendment defender in my congregation mentioned this in disgust as we stood in the narthex this morning. "That's not what we come to church for," he said. But I admit, when I saw him coming, I was afraid he was going to ask if we could do the same thing next Sunday.
I could have sworn I saw a church sign in our neighborhood which implied that there was going to be a gun show following the morning service, but since I didn't take a picture of it, I can't be sure. This bit makes me think that I saw what I saw.
Just remember that old truism: Rats are never more dangerous than when they're cornered. The whole macho/gun-toting/old-time-religion/whites-only/love-it-or-leave-it/family-values crowd is feeling threatened so be very, very careful.
I guess they want to be ready in case any "abortion doctors" show up for services.

All I can say is...I'm so glad this church isn't in Tennessee!
At last, the ultimate answer to that oft asked question: wwjd?
I'm from Mississippi, and while I am sure I don't speak for all Mississippians (aren't they glad?)--that's just amazing. I'm sure they'll tell you the guns are for defense and hunting only, but all I can say is, "Da-yum." That's "damn" in Southern.
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!!!
This story reminds me of Bob Uecker's, "It's hard liquor and hand gun night at the ballpark. Hope to see you here!"
Jeez... this reminds me to NEVER move to the South (from Kentucky southward)... not that I ever wanted to in the first place.

I've been looking for a job in Arizona in hopes of relocating there from Michigan, and someone called me from South Carolina about a month ago wanting to know if I wanted to move there. I said, "No, thanks. I have NO interest in moving to the South."

I don't choose to live in the "Confederate days".
You know, there are idiots, rednecks and jackasses wherever you go. In Arizona they seem to be focused on "illegals". And, you'll find warm, intelligent, open, caring people wherever you go. One of things I've always liked about the South is its sense of history and place. And like anywhere else there are those with negative attitudes and values I can't abide but I just avoid them. I wouldn't have any problems living in either KY or SC. (And quite frankly, I detest living in SoCal and would far prefer being back in either the Midwest or South).
This preacher took a play from the activist handbook.
If you want to gain celebrity status in this media driven world you have to do something outrageous. It worked for Peta, Gay movement, and most every other group looking for media attention.

I can understand why a preacher would want the guns unloaded while preaching though.
Agree, Walter, that the South isn't the only place for wackos and idiots. That being said, I've found the South does seem to have a larger portion of the religious pie than other parts (I've lived all over, too: SoCal, AK, South, D.C., CO). The guns represent--as one earlier commenter suggested--an attempt to make religion more relevant. But, it doesn't take something as bold as guns to make me clench my jaws--just seeing a U.S. flag behind a pulpit or mini-flags lining a church's sidewalk does that. Spirituality--the true purpose that religions lose--has nothing to do with what country you live, how patriotic you are, or how forceful you become in supporting the Constitution and its amendments. All that most churches do anymore is pander to the pabulum crowd.
Following up on Ric's observations...

"We're just going to celebrate the upcoming theme of the birth of our nation," said pastor Ken Pagano.

In this context, I can't believe that it's only movie buffs who see the unfortunate connotations of the phrase "birth of a nation".
Rob, I don't think he was making a reference to the movie Birth of a Nation and since the context was the 4th celebrating birth of our nation would be consistent.
The hair is standing straight up on the back of my neck. Suddenly I don't feel it's safe to do anything but hide under my bed...
That's what's wrong with America: too many guns and too many idiots.