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November 8, 2010

On KFUO This Evening

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

This evening at 6pm EDT (that Daylight Savings Time thing doesn’t make any sense nowadays) I will be “interviewed” on KFUO-AM’sStudio A with Roland Lettner” on the topic of Church security.

Recently in a Saint Louis suburb, a man dressed as Jesus Christ decided to walk into an LCMS church to worship on Sunday morning. Church leaders got a little nervous, especially that the man was dressed up in a Jesus costume. They asked the man to sit in the hallway, not the church, to which he got a little upset since he only wanted to worship. The police were called. And the man, Neal Thompson, was kicked out of the church.

Of course, this pastor made fun of the fact that a church kicked Jesus out of church. I was feigning outrage that a church founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ would kick the a man who gave us the Gospel out into the streets on a Sunday morning because he wasn’t dressed appropriately. “Didn’t anyone in the church have an extra pair of pants or leather shoes for Jesus? Did the church at least offer our Savior a cup of coffee, maybe a doughnut or some Jello?”

Little did I know at the time this LCMS church just so happened to call LCMS President Matthew Harrison as a pastor. Of course, I stand by my feigned outrage.

The fact is, church security is one of those topics that isn’t talked about much.

We live in a community where there are a lot of Roman Catholic Churches and most of them are opened throughout the day. A vast majority of those churches do not have a priest “on call” in the church sanctuary, except during appointed times. Otherwise, the sanctuary is open to anyone wishing to come in and say a prayer or light a candle. And none of these churches have security guards. And nearly all of them don’t have security cameras.

The Lutheran and Protestant churches are usually locked up like Fort Knox during the week, unless they have a school or very active congregation. But sanctuaries are mostly locked during the week. Some of these churches that have a school attached to them do have added security — locked doors, intercoms, cameras — but this is more for insurance and New Jersey State law reasons. Otherwise, there is no security outside of an alarm system.

It does tell you something about the state of our society where even churches have to lock themselves up with tight security in order to fight the crooks and criminals who want to break in and steal the weekly offering.

This also got me thinking about our security here at Saint Matthew’s and how I dealt with a couple of drunk guys a few years ago during Holy Monday which just so happened to be Saint Patrick’s Day (that old “getting knocked out, having a real bad concussion, and still doing Holy Week services” story).

The show begins at 5:00pm EDT (and yes, I really dislike typing “EDT”) on KFUO-AM, though I will be on at 6pm. The station can be heard exclusively in our area on the Internet or on the KFUO app on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or in stretch-o-vision on your iPad (until the Synod comes out with an exclusive KFUO iPad app, which, according to KFUO, they are working on).

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