Religious reaction to Georgia gun law muted

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill on Wednesday allowing people with state carry permits to bring their weapons into bars without restriction and in some churches, schools and government buildings under certain circumstances.

But in looking for a response in their region, the staff at the Forsyth County News found that “many religious leaders and bar owners [declined] to comment on the measure.”

One who spoke out against it was the Rev. Keith Oglesby, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit:

While some local church leaders contacted for this article declined comment, the Rev. Keith Oglesby at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit has been vocal about his opinion since the beginning. He wrote letters to state lawmakers and actively opposed the bill.

“It is well intended by some that feel it can help protect people, but I think the church is a sanctuary and it’s not a place for guns,” he said. “I know there are good-hearted people who disagree but … I’m not going to allow guns, our church is not going to allow guns and I think it’s very bad public policy.”

While a local Baptist pastor didn’t exactly praise the law, neither did he condemn it:

For First Baptist Cumming Pastor Bob Jolly, the issue is a “detractor from our mission to tell the good news of Jesus to people.”

His church, he said, “has a security team and a security plan in place, including paid officers.”

“We had this plan in place before this new law,” he said. “The plan is still effective and to add more guns to the mix would simply increase our security risk.”

Both Bishop Scott Benhase of Georgia and Bishop Robert C. Wright of Atlanta came out against the law when it was being debated.

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