The World Peace and Unification Sanctuary is a church based in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania. Founded nearly 60 years ago, the church has a worldwide following and is known for its teachings on gun ownership. On February 28th, just two weeks after 17 people, including children, were murdered by gunman, Nikolas Cruz, the church decided to hold an event that raised eyebrows.
Couples attending the church were asked to come to the church to participate in a mass renewal of wedding vows. But this wasn't just any wedding vow renewal ceremony.
The couples were asked to bring their AR-15 rifles, the same rifle used by Cruz, for the church service. In fact, the church's head pastor, Reverend Hyung Jin 'Sean' Moon, made it clear that anyone who attended the service without the weapon or a gun store coupon proving they planned to buy one wouldn't be welcome.
"Ok, you may be able to sit in the back and receive the blessing like the ungrateful punk that you are, the ungrateful piece of shi* that you are," he said. "And you'll know that you're a piece of cr*p."
The World Peace and Unification Sanctuary believe the rifles are rods of iron which were sent by God. Thus, in order to be a part of God's church, everyone has to have one.
Moon hinted that he did not think members who did not own AR-15s deserved salvation.
"Will you go to hell, will you lose salvation if you don't bring a crown and a rod of iron?" he said, referring to the rifles, "No. Will you be a b***h if you don't? Yes."
News of the ceremony spread across the district and prompted a school close by to shut its doors and move students to the other side of town for safety.
In the church, the head pastor prayed for "a kingdom of peace police and militia where the citizens, through the right given to them by almighty God to keep and bear arms, will be able to protect one another and protect human flourishing."
Angry protesters stood outside the church building during the service, holding signs like, "God doesn't bless guns" and "Shame."
Inside however, members of the church, which is often classified as a cult, happily held their guns to their sides for the blessings. One member who attended the ceremony with her husband and their AR-15 defended their decision to do so.
"People have the right to bear arms," she said, "and in God's Kingdom, you have to protect that. You have to protect against evil."