A church should be a place of peace where even the non-religious can go to seek a safe haven from the violently unraveling world beyond. However, churches in the United States are beginning to prepare for the worst – a terrorist attack. However, they do not prepare out of completely unfounded fear or Islamic paranoia, but rather because terror as already found its way into churches in Europe and it is just a matter of time. They know it is now just a matter of time before the potential terror attack that they fear becomes a reality in their parish.
The preparation of churches in the United States comes after the horrific news out of Normandy, France where two ISIS agents slit the throat of a priest back in July. To all churches, this was the herald of the age religious terror where not even churches would be safe. To priests, it was like a declaration of war on Christians.
Homeland security analyst Ryan Mauro states that after the attack in Normandy, many churches are now hiring self-defense instructors to teach classes for their flock or hiring security guards which also include off-duty police officers to keep watch over things both during and after service. Church officials are now prepping under the belief that if you are a terrorist looking for self-glory, then killing a priest will bring more attention than killing any random citizen. However, it is not just their own personal safety that they care for, but rather, they would not like to have casualties of church visitors either.
While an attack like that in Normandy has yet to happen in the US, this does not mean that things are still peaceful here. Some churches like St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Riverside, California has had to hire security guards because of several non-violent incidents in April, months before the French attack. The incident came in the form of a group yelling “Allahu Akbar” from a bullhorn as they passed the church in their car. While not out rightly violent or even particularly worrisome, the parishioners and priest took it to be an ominous warning and took precautions against an incident that could be much worse.
Other church representatives like Jeff King of the International Christian Concern state that until radical Islam is defeated, Christians all over the world can expect that their places of worship should be the next target for terrorist attacks. King goes on to issue a public urging that churches tighten their security in order to protect themselves from attacks.
However, not all churches are prepping for the future because of fear of ISIS and the Islamic state. They are prepping for fear of the new America, a violent country where mass shootings are featured on the news every other day and entire towns are capable of being taken over by civil unrest. Even in this “new” America, churches are still held sacred, but for how long? That is what the priests and church officials don’t know, and that is what they prepare for. So while fear of the radical Islamic state may be the reason your church may feature more burly men guarding things than normal, it is not the only threat that the religious institution faces.
If churches are preparing for future threats, what does it say about you that you are not? You know that when churches, the safest places in the world, start to panic that things are getting pretty serious out there. Be ready for any disaster, threat or civil unrest. You need to ask yourself if you are prepared for when the inevitable strikes? Do you have enough food stores for your family? Is your water supply safe? Do you have a habitable safe haven when the tides turn? Any Disaster can outfit you with every bit of off the grid material and products you could ever need.
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