Protecting Your Church or Synagogue Against Violence
SDF membership can help protect your Church or Synagogue from the civil litigation that follows a place of worship shooting.
Protect your Church or Synagogue, Pastor or Rabbi, Plus other members or staff.
Church & Synagogue shootings happen often enough that there is a national shooting data base. No denomination is immune.
People continue to die at the hands of violent intruders in houses of worship. Since 1999 violent episodes at churches and other places of worship have begun to escalate with alarming frequency.
There are numerous passages in the Bible that speak of Christians being peaceful and pacifistic (Proverbs 25 – Matthew 5 – Romans 12) thus confusing some Christians on the issue of self-defense.
Yet there are many passages that talk about war and violence that God approves of, such as David slaying Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Samson killed over a thousand men with nothing but a Jaw bone. The prophet Elijah killed the priests of Baal with a sword (In 1 Kings 19.) Saul had a bitter war with the Philistines (1 Samuel 14.) and anointed by God Ehud slays the Moabites. “At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not one escaped” (Judges 3.)
As with many questions in our lives, self-defense has to do with wisdom, understanding, and tact. For instance, in Luke 11-21: “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.” Also in Luke 22, Jesus prepares His disciples for the trip to the city for Passover telling them to get a sword because Jesus knew that now was the time when He would be threatened (and later killed) and His followers would be threatened as well but it was not for them to be slain. Jesus was giving approval of the fact that one has the right to self-defense.
As far as self-defense when one’s life is threatened, there is a whole lot in the Bible concerning this but not killing someone over loss of property. Exodus 22 speaks quite a bit about God’s attitude towards self-defense. “If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.” This is speaking of thievery and not an attack.
The laws in all states support this view. Meaning you are justified to use lethal force, kill your attacker, but you are not justified to kill another over property.
Rashi is celebrated for his detailed word-by-word commentaries on the Torah and Talmud, comprising an enormous volume of work which is still studied as an essential text. The Rashi commentary on the Torah remains very widely read, with most observant Jews have a “Torah with Rashi” in their library.
In Exodus 22:1 we read: If, while breaking in, the thief is discovered, and he is struck and dies, [it is as if] he has no blood.
Rashi, who gathers together millennia of interpretation, comments: “He has no blood. [This signifies that] this is not [considered] murder. It is as though he [the thief] is [considered] dead from the start. Here the Torah teaches you: If someone comes to kill you, kill him first. And this one [the thief] has come to kill you, because he knows that a person will not hold himself back and remain silent when he sees people taking his money. Therefore, he [the thief] has come with the acknowledgement that if the owner of the property were to stand up against him, he [thief] would kill him [the owner]. – [From Talmud Sanhedrin 72a]”
Under Jewish Law there is an obligation for a private citizen to assist another in trouble: “You shall not stand by [the shedding of] your fellow’s blood. I am the Lord (Leviticus 19:16)” and as Rashi comments, quoting the legal texts of the Talmud: “You shall not stand by [the shedding of] your fellow’s blood. [I.e., do not stand by,] watching your fellow’s death, when you are able to save him; for example, if he is drowning in the river or if a wild beast or robbers come upon him. — [Torath Kohanim 19:41; Talmud, Sanhedrin 73a]”
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