Pennsylvania Church Holds ‘Blessing’ Ceremony Featuring AR-15 Rifles
Worshippers in a Pennsylvania church clutching AR-15 rifles drank holy wine and exchanged wedding vows in a commitment ceremony.
The event at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Wayne County, led a nearby school to cancel classes.
The Rev. Sean Moon leads the controversial church. He and his wife are known as the king and queen. Moon said in a prayer Wednesday that God gave people the right to bear arms. He held a gold AR-15 rifle throughout the ceremony.
Moon is the son of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah who founded the Unification Church, often described as a cult, in the 1950s.
The sanctuary believes the AR-15 symbolizes the “rod of iron” in the book of Revelation, and encouraged couples to bring the weapons to the ceremony. An AR-15 was used in the Florida high school massacre.
Women wearing white wedding-style dresses and men in black suits calmly shuffled into the building. Church officials said all weapons would be unloaded, secured with zip ties and checked at the door.
At least one man placed a red rose in the barrel of his gun.
Inside the building, paintings featured guns with the word “Holy” written above each one. Several quoted the Bible: “Blessed be the lord, my strength, which teacheth my hands to war and my fingers to fight.”
The Sanctuary church, which also calls itself Rod of Iron Ministries, is a breakaway faction of the Unification Church.
Moon’s father was most notable for holding mass weddings and his followers were dubbed “Moonies.”