The Church Protection Act inspired some good ol' Bible bashing in the Arkansas Senate Monday, pitting a God of love against a God of guns.
"My house shall be called a house of prayer," said Senator Linda Chesterfield (D- Little Rock), quoting Matthew 21:13 in opposition to the bill. "(The Bible) doesn't talk about violence. If there was one person who was anti-violence, it was my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
Senator Gary Stubblefield (R- Branch) was quick to defend the measure, using the same scripture quoted by Chesterfield.
"Remember, Jesus said you've turned my father's house into a den of thieves," Stubblefield said. "And he went and started throwing money changers out and tables over."
Stubblefield also quoted Luke 11:21, saying, "A strong man armeth, and protecteth his house."
The concealed carry of firearms is currently illegal in Arkansas churches. Senator Bryan King's (R- Green Forest) bill would let churches decide for themselves if they want to allow concealed carry and who gets to do it.
"There are just situations here in the real world that I think dictates churches are allowed to protect themselves," King said.
The bill drew sharp opposition from a small but vocal group of Democrats who said allowing guns would put parishoners at risk.
"If (churches) can adopt the policy, they should have to adopt the liability," said Senator Stephanie Flowers (D- Pine Bluff) who ultimately voted against the bill. "There's nothing in that law that requires them to adopt that liability.
But in the end, the support for church carry was overwhelming
"I recognize when a train is rolling," Chesterfield said. "And I'm about to get run over by the caboose."
Senators passed the bill 28-4, sending the debate over faith and firearms to the House.