A priest in Ann Arbor has told his parishioners to arm themselves, and is holding a concealed pistol license course in his church.
Rev. Edward Fride told the church that he believed it was necessary for the parishioners to arm themselves due to the recent rise of violent crime in the area. Last month, during Palm Sunday mass, Fride announced the parish would be holding a CPL class.
Some parishioners questioned the decision, leading Fride to send out a pro-gun letter entitled “We’re not in Mayberry Anymore, Toto.” Through references to the fictional town from the popular 1960’s Andy Griffith Show and Toto from The Wizard of Oz, Fride explained that Christians often have false assumptions about their safety because of their faith.
“It is very common for Christians to simply assume that they live in Mayberry, trusting that because they know the Lord Jesus, everything will always be fine and nothing bad can happen to them and their families,” Fride wrote.
“How to balance faith, reality, prudence, and trust is one of those critical questions that we struggle with all our lives. Pretending we are in Mayberry, while we are clearly not, can have very negative consequences for ourselves and those we love, especially those we have a responsibility to protect. If we are not in Mayberry, is there a real threat?”
Fride told his parish that Catholicism does not preclude the carrying of a gun for self-defense. He cited that due to financial difficulties the area has experienced “a significant reduction in the availability of an armed police response.”
Others in the church disagree with Fride. Earl Boyea, a Lansing Catholic Bishop, stressed that guns do not belong in church. The Diocese of Lansing overseas the Ann Arbor parish.
In a statement released by Lansing Dioceses spokesperson Michael Diebold, it was made clear that Boyea “has never given permission for anyone to carry a concealed weapon in a church or school in the Diocese of Lansing,”
Read more: The Federalist Papers