Ken Pagano, the pastor at New Bethel Church, prepared to try a Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun at a shooting range. “God and guns were part of the foundation of this country,” he said. So was slavery, but never mind.
Does the pastor know that the translation of his last name from the Italian means pagan? Doubt it.
Ken Pagano, the pastor of the New Bethel Church here, is passionate about gun rights. He shoots regularly at the local firing range, and his sermon two weeks ago was on “God, Guns, Gospel and Geometry.” And on Saturday night, he is inviting his congregation of 150 and others to wear or carry their firearms into the sanctuary to “celebrate our rights as Americans!” as a promotional flier for the “open carry celebration” puts it.
“God and guns were part of the foundation of this country,” Mr. Pagano, 49, said Wednesday in the small brick Assembly of God church, where a large wooden cross hung over the altar and two American flags jutted from side walls. “I don’t see any contradiction in this. Not every Christian denomination is pacifist.”