The Georgia state House adopted a plan last week that would allow the leaders of religious congregations and private business owners to decide whether they want to allow legal firearms on their properties. The state Senate still has to take up the matter. But if such a bill passes and becomes law, here is one possible scenario of what might happen in Peach State churches.
Overheard at the Beulah's Wind Baptist Church in Somewhere, Ga.:
Pastor Delman Orfendale: Thanks, Sister Thelma, for that impassioned plea for this year's Lottie Moon Offering. Brother Ray Jay, what's next on the agenda?
Ray Jay Gattis: Next up is when we consider whether or not we'll allow licensed gun owners to bring their guns to Beulah's Wind. The folks up in Atlanta say we get to decide.
Horton Fentengraf: I didn't know we weren't supposed to have guns here. Mine's out in my pickup ever' time the church doors open. You oughta see my little grandson, Jackson, when he picks that thing up and points it at Euna Mae. Cutest thing you ever saw.
Ray Jay: But we have to decide somethin' official, so in case somethin' happens, we'll be covered. Get it, covered?
Pastor Orfendale: We get it, Ray Jay. Who else has something to say on this matter?
Miller Martin: I wish I'd had a gun when you suggested we increase our offerings 10 percent that one Sunday to help the homeless, Pastor Orfendale. I think I'd have shot you right there. God said right there in the King James version that God helps those who help themselves.
Pastor Orfendale: Brother Miller, that's not in the Bible, but I was just trying to get ya'll to think beyond yourselves. I guess I'm glad you didn't have your gun that day. Others?
Horton: Remember that break-in we had a couple of months back? If I'd been at the church, I coulda shot the idiot. Probably some teenager hopped up on meth. That would have kept him from breakin' into other places.
Pastor Orfendale: Brother Horton, turns out that was Sister Suter. Carlyle had left his heart pills in the pew that morning, and he was having a spell - a bad one - in the middle of the night. She didn't think she had time to call anybody, so, since they just lived a couple of doors away, she came down, broke the window in the door, unlocked it and went and got the pills. She told me a couple of weeks later and gave me the money to repair the door.
Horton: Well, OK, but remember when Curtis hit ol' Ruby in the parking lot one day after services. He hit her a good one, broke her nose. We don't want our women gettin' beat up; she coulda shot him rather than gettin' busted.
Pastor Orfendale: I was able to get Curtis and Ruby together, and they talked things out and patched things up. Actually, that was the first time he'd ever hit her, and he was so ashamed he broke down in my office. The reason you haven't seen them lately is they were so embarrassed over the incident that they joined a church across town. We still talk, though.
Miller: What if somebody came to pick up one of the children in our day care, somebody who was maybe in a custodial fight, and he had a gun? Pastor, wouldn't you want to have a gun in that case?
Pastor Orfendale: No, not really. I would worry more about some of those precious children getting shot. I think the chances of the police catching the guy if something like that happened are much greater than trying to come out on top in a gun battle with lots of kids around. Brother Horton, little Jackson goes to that day care, doesn't he? You wouldn't want him to get hit, would you?
Horton: Well, he may be 3, but he knows his way around guns. Whenever he pulls up mine and points it at Euna Mae, he knows not to pull the trigger. Euna Mae says we need to get a trigger lock if I'm going to bring that sucker around church, but I know he won't ever pull it.
Pastor Orfendale: Well, ya'll know me pretty well, know I'm a big Second Amendment guy and don't want to keep people from arming themselves in their home or from keeping guns to hunt. I mean, where would our annual Big Game Dinner be without us hunting? But I just think, since we get to decide this issue, if I'm understanding it right, that it wouldn't hurt us to leave our guns at home when we come to the Lord's house, a place of peace, a place where we say we follow Jesus's teachings to treat our neighbor as ourselves. Well, I've said my piece. Brother Ray Jay, let's vote.
Fade to black.