Recently the Sheriff’s Office held a meeting of churches in our parish to discuss safety during worship. This came at a time when there had been several attacks at churches in the US, most notably the one in a small community in Texas.
One attendee at the meeting was Rev. Dr. Curtis Carroll of First Methodist and Wesley Chapel churches. The Journal asked Rev. Carroll to give his observations of that meeting.
“I would like to give a word of thanks to the Sherriff and the Red River Sherriff’s Office for the recent community forum on the security of churches, synagogues, mosques and temples in the State of Louisiana.
Religious liberties in our nation cannot be fully open unless steps for the safety of persons in their peaceable assembly are protected.
“The forum opened the option for individual religious groups to be state certified and trained in the most recent methods of providing for security within their group. There are threats within our nation by hate groups that target religious groups but one of the key factors to be noted as of recent is that unresolved domestic violence issues get played out in the life of religious communities.
“Louisiana, it has been noted is third in the Nation with domestic violence homicides. Therefore, the forum gave an approach to give religious community leaders one of the tools to make their groups safer. This opened not only the legal question as to what measures are open for safety but where the moral responsibility for the safety of all peaceable worshippers lies.
“This puts law enforcement in a position to be ever vigilant in watching all hate groups within our communities at large but also to be proactive in facing domestic violence. This also puts an extra moral imperative on the leaderships of religious groups to be deeper trained in how to deal with hate and violence.”