As we all grieve over the senseless killings at First Baptist Sutherland Springs, I have grappled with what to say personally at a practical level. I have arrived at this:
If we are going to have a society that allows virtually anyone to have an assault-type weapon, our churches and other organizations that gather are going to have to pay for professional security. By that, I primarily mean the hiring of off-duty law enforcement for security.
Many of these public servants could use the extra income because communities generally do not pay them well enough. Also, regarding churches, it would be good to establish closer relationships with these men and women who regularly confront the most difficult people and situations in our communities. Hiring professional security also is a means of ministry to these servants and their families.
Having church members with permits to carry is not a good answer. An active shooter situation is fraught with too much chaos and panic for a non-professional to handle. It’s even tough for a trained professional — ask any law enforcement officer or combat veteran.
It is sad that churches need security, but this is the reality of our culture. Let’s practice prudence in caring for our congregations and supporting our law enforcement.
Ferrell Foster is director of ethics and justice for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission.
This article originally appeared on txb.life.