Armed criminals attack churchgoers during services

By Chad D. Baus

The Columbus Dispatch reported this week that two criminals brought a pistol into a church and began robbing churchgoers during Mass.

Due to a state law which prohibits firearms in places of worship, all the victims were unarmed. Thankfully, however, that did not transform at least five of the churchgoers into a victim mindset.

From the story:

    Five men old enough to qualify for senior-citizen discounts foiled an armed robber and his accomplice yesterday during the 8 a.m. Mass at Christ the King Church on E. Livingston Avenue.

    One churchgoer ended up at Grant Medical Center after being pistolwhipped in the back of the church while services for about 150 went on uninterrupted on the altar.

    "Our parishioners are not about to let anyone defile their church," said the Rev. Michael Lumpe, Christ the King pastor. "Kudos to those who didn’t just sit and let it happen."

Click on 'Read More' for further details.

Again, from the story:

    Bob, 67, of the East Side, was sitting with his wife, Carol, in the fifth row of the Catholic church when he heard an ex-nun behind them scream that a woman was trying to steal her coat. (The Dispatch is not printing the couple’s last name because the family is concerned about reprisals.)

    Bob said he turned and saw Smith in a church pew, grabbing purses from the seats in front of her and stuffing them into a plastic bag.

    He ran to the back of the church, grabbed Smith by the shoulders and began leading her to the foyer. Hollingsworth, who also had been in the church, waved a gun in the air above his head and announced, "This is a robbery," according to Columbus police.

    Hollingsworth demanded that Bob release Smith. When Bob refused, Hollingsworth struck him several times in the head until he released the woman.

    Hollingsworth waved the gun in the air a second time, demanding money. When Hollingsworth pointed the loaded, Russian handgun at his chest, Bob raised his hands in the air. "I said, ‘I give up,’ " Bob said.

    Moments later, four other parishioners "came through the doors like football players," Carol said.

    They tackled Hollingsworth and piled on top of him as he squirmed to get free. The four, who were between their late 50s and early 70s, stayed atop Hollingsworth until police arrived moments later.

    "One guy, I betcha in his 70s, was laying into the bad guy with no fear at all," Bob said.

    "Those four were heroes. They knew he had a gun."

These two criminals couldn't have cared less about state legislators establishing this private property as a victim disarmament zone. A gun control law which prohibits felons from even possessing firearms didn't stop Hollingsworth either - nor did the justice system, which the Dispatch is reporting parolled Hollingsworth, a man sentenced to 18 to 53 years, in August after just 14 years.

As is typical, only the law-abiding citizens (in this case churchgoers) followed the law, and as a consequence were forced to face armed criminals with nothing but their empty hands. Fortunately, this time, that was enough. But what about next time?

Bob told the Dispatch he received eight staples for a head wound and five stitches for a gash on his neck. He said he’ll be back in the pew he’s used since he joined the parish in 1984.

"It was just a sad situation, a very sad situation that this would happen in a church," he said.

The truly bad news, Bob, is that this wasn't the first time, nor will it be the last. Yet, as was pointed out in this America's First Freedom article by Dave Kopel, churchgoers have the "pacifist-agression of certain religious officials" to thank for their defenselessness.

According to Kopel, when Congress was considering
reforms of the federal Gun Control Act, the
Presbyterian Church (USA), sent a representative
to testify to the Senate against the reforms. The
Church representative declared
that his church “has resolved, in the context of
gun control, that it is against the killing of anyone,
anywhere for any reason.”

The Kopel piece also notes that The National Coalition to Ban Handguns
(later renamed the Coalition to Stop Gun
Violence) was, in effect, founded as a
subsidiary of the Board of Church and Society
of the United Methodist Church. And, Kopel tells America's First Freedom readers, Methodist
publications tell women that they have a duty
to submit to a rapist, rather than endanger the
rapist by shooting him.

The roots of Ohio's anti-gun alliances can also be traced to these same sort of religious groups.

"It is an atrocious form of intolerance," Kopel writes, "for some religious groups to attempt to use the force of government to impose their pacifist views on everyone else. Moreover,
the assertion that the New Testament compels pacifism is an extraordinarily weak

I won't attempt to readdress the Biblical arguments here, but would highly recommend the online publication entitled "The Bible and Gun Control", and more specifically Essay 2, entitled "The Bible and Guns in America" (download .pdf file here).

Whether it be criminals in search of an easy mark, or terrorists in search of a place to inflict maximum damage, places of worship have a reason for concern. Thanks to Ohio law, CHL-holders are rendered defenseless on every trip to and from worship, and are banned from attending worship services (or even entering the building) while armed, unless they have received special permission from church/synagogue/mosque officials. This simply should not be.

On July 25, 1788, the first Ohio law to establish and regulate a militia was published in Marietta. It mandated all men between 16 and 50 perform military duty. They were required to arm themselves with a musket and bayonet, a cartridge box, powder horn, one pound of powder and four pounds of lead. They also were ordered to drill every Sunday.

In 1791, the law changed the day of the weekly drills to Saturday. Those who drilled didn't have to go to church on Sunday. But those who attended church services - with their guns - were exempt from drill.

Notice that churches were not legislated as victim zones, but rather that the law gave citizens incentive not only to attend church, but to do so while armed. How far we have sunk in Ohio, from a day when all men were not only allowed, but required by law to own firearms. Back then, Ohio law recognized that an armed society was a safer society.

ACT NOW: Ask the leaders in your place of worship if you and fellow CHL-holders can be a part of a "security guard ministry". And tell your legislators that places of worship shouldn't be treated differently in the law than any other private property.

Related Stories:
Op-Ed: Saving Your Soul - and Your Life

Does YOUR place of worship have a ''security guard ministry''?

Wisconsin church shooting could easily happen here

VICTIM ZONE: Butler coroner beaten, robbed leaving church

Sex offender attacks child's mother on way to church

Letter to the editor: Some gun bill provisions deserve to be repealed

Masked gunman terrorizes church

94-year-old Toledoan attacked on way to church: ''We are so helpless''

Preach It, Pastor!

''Victim Zone'' exclusions are BAD for law-abiding Ohio citizens

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