The Instigator
Maddy
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
MikeGarcia
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

Christian churches need to distinguish between dangerous people and safe people and act accordingly.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/11/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,144 times Debate No: 257
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (7)

 

Maddy

Pro

If a person poses a threat to the church building or the people inside, church employees have the right to ask that person to leave or take other steps to make sure that that person does as little damage as possible.

Example 1: A church is so big that they feel that they need armed guards on the premises. A gunman enters the building, shooting parishioners. The armed guard shoots the gunman.

Example 2: A church located near a football stadium sells parking spots on home game days. The church's facilities (kitchen, restrooms, lounge area) are open to those parking at the church that day. A group of very drunk people unassociated with the church's parking operation come and want to use the church's restroom to drunk-puke in. The parking manager and several parkers tell the drunk and sick people to leave.

Example 3: A pastor is at home with her young daughters. A member of the church shows up on her doorstep asking for help, but is clearly a danger to himself and others. The pastor, thinking of her daughters' safety, forces the man to leave.

Are the actions taken by those associated with the churches in these examples justified?
MikeGarcia

Con

Well, I would that any place of worship - regardless of religion - has the right to protect its property. You're correct in saying that a church building has a right and certain obligation to protect the property of the church and the safety of the parishioners present. Your examples, however, although justified, do not reflect something that a good Christian would do in the given situation. Christianity is based on helping others help themselves, not shunning them away.

Example 1, to me, seems preposterous to propose in a church-like environment. While it is certainly legal for a church to employ armed guards, I'm not too sure if that would be sending a good message to those who came to church on Sunday (or any other day.) Perhaps metal detectors, and search guards would be a better idea. Oh, how I can think of the millions of people who would stop going to church based on the fact that it became like an airport, though. Since most churches that I know of oppose the death penalty, and physical harm in general, it would seem harshly hypocritical of them to employ armed guards to shoot a gunman inside a church.

Example 2 also seems harsh. Again, it would be very un-church like to force sick people to leave a church, regardless of how or why they're sick. I would propose that the church parishioners call an ambulance and report alcohol poisoning, if its really that bad. That would be the "Christian" thing to do. Help others, not shun them.

Example 3 lies on the same premises as example 2: Christians are not supposed to abandon those in need, especially if those in need ask for help. If he is really concerned with the behavior of the church member, and he really believes that the member is a "danger to himself and others," the pastor should make the decision as to call an ambulance or a psychiatric center for his parishioner. A good pastor, though, would never turn away someone in the fashion you proposed.
Debate Round No. 1
Maddy

Pro

Example 1:
Is a true story. It is plastered all over the news.
http://www.cnn.com...
I won't deny that employing an armed guard or having metal detectors wouldn't deter some people, but the armed guard was not wholly uncalled for.

Example 2 and 3:
I'm surprised that you are asking, especially in example 3, the people to take an incredible risk. In the second example, the church is not having church services, they are operating as a non-profit business. There are posted signs informing all people that the church's facilities are for paying customers only, so these people walking in off the street are already in the wrong. In the third example, the pastor made the best decision for the safety of her family. If he really was a danger to himself and others, why not let him go home and stick it out, possibly encountering and endangering people on his way home? If he stayed at the pastor's home, even long enough for someone to come pick him up, the pastor's children and the pastor are not safe with him in the home.
MikeGarcia

Con

I am familiar with this incident, as I religiously keep up with the news (no pun intended.) I still think it would be hypocritical for churches to have armed guards in a church. Yes, your point is sensible, but it would completely ruin the church environment. Can you imagine walking into a church to be greeted by a man carrying a loaded rifle on him? Would you feel like you were in a church-like environment? Your argument lies on the fact that several Christians were murdered in a church several days ago. If the incident happened in a mall or school, I can understand the call for armed guards. But since it happened in a church, where killing is universally considered bad, even for those who commit evil acts, having armed guards in place to do intentional harm to evil-doers seems very hypocritical. Most religious Americans would disagree that it would be somehow justified to kill someone inside of a church, for any reason.

In the third example, the pastor made the best decision for the safety of her family. If he really was a danger to himself and others, why not let him go home and stick it out, possibly encountering and endangering people on his way home? If he stayed at the pastor's home, even long enough for someone to come pick him up, the pastor's children and the pastor are not safe with him in the home.

Example 2 is not an incredible risk, by my standards. To cover this example, all you have to do is study Christianity. Jesus didn't call for religious compassion during church services only. So for a church to shun someone sick away, even during "business" hours, would be hypocritical. I am not arguing that the people throwing up in the bathroom aren't wrong. I am arguing that it would be hypocritical of a church to turn a sick person away in the name of business.

In example three, I believe that all pastors make some sort of sacrifice, whether it be familial or personal, when he or she chooses to devote his or her life to God. First off, in your example, no one argues that the person needs to be inside the house. The pastor can step outside with the person until help arrives, or if the person is an extreme danger to himself or others, call the police or an ambulance. Ignoring the problem, however, is completely un-Christian, and would be hypocritical of the pastor. The pastor has every right to defend himself and his family in this situation, but to shun someone and turn him away is not Christian at all. Would the good Samaritan have chosen not to help the person in need, simply based on the fact that the person in need may have been a danger to him?
Debate Round No. 2
Maddy

Pro

On example 1: Armed guards don't have to shoot to kill. I doubt that the guard in the news story intentionally wounded the gunman, but perhaps it is better for this church that she did only wound him. I'm not defending the right of a church to use lethal force, I'm defending the right of a church to defend its parishioners. Yes, a guard may ruin the experience of many people looking for a place to worship, but there were clearly a lot of people who were fine with it at that church.

Example 2: The drunk people are not necessarily a risk to the other people, but they are certainly a risk to the building and to the continued patronage of the other people there. Why should the church be required to cater to anyone who walks in the door and then be forced to pay for it all later? In the example I gave, there were friends with the drunk-sick person. Those friends are perfectly capable of calling an ambulance for their friend if they felt that it was needed. They were just looking to take advantage of a church so the party could go on.

Example 3: How big of a sacrifice is a pastor expected to take when he or she is ordained? If the pastor is a female, like the one in my example, would she feasibly be comfortable with a drunk, aggressive man outside her home trying to come in? Even if the doors are locked and the windows are closed, it is still a dangerous situation. It is not hypocritical of the pastor to watch out for her own safety, as well as the safety of her children.

Churches are often faced with the very difficult problem of finding the line between being a "Good Samaritan" and being a doormat. They are perfectly justified in defending the well-being of their facilities, employees, and parishioners. If, in that defense, one dangerous person is excluded, so be it. Churches do not exist to be doormats. If they allowed themselves to be taken advantage of, they would not be able to keep their doors open for long.
MikeGarcia

Con

MikeGarcia forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by PreacherFred 9 years ago
PreacherFred
I agree with you wholeheartedly, la_bella_vita with one exception, Mike forfeited. All he needed to do was summerize his position in round 3 and he would have had my vote.
Posted by la_bella_vita 9 years ago
la_bella_vita
i think that MikeGarcia's arguments made the most sense. i don't think he needed to even finish the debate because he would have been reiterating the same points he had already made very clear two times previous.

1. most people i know would find a different church to attend if they were faced with having to worship surrounded by armed guards. this really is so contradictory to what Christianity is about, and one horrific incident is not enough to suggest that every church congregation is at risk for being shot up.

2. if a drunken person needed to use a bathroom because they were sick, i don't know of any church that would turn them away. they might not agree with why they are sick, but it's not the Christian way to discriminate against someone on the basis of WHY they are sick. if you want to get really Christian about it, think about the example of Jesus and the lepers. Lepers were people that all of society shunned because of their "disgusting" and contagious disease. Did that stop Jesus from helping them? No. Therefore I doubt that Jesus would have an issue with a little "drunk-puking".

of course the church should not let them stay there, no they should not let them drink there if they have alcohol, but if they need to use a bathroom i don't see why that is a problem. beyond that, they have every right to ask them to leave.

3. my father is an ordained minister, and my mother works in a church. i have been in the church environment for years and i don't know ANY good pastor who would ever just shut someone out of their home. you don't have to bring someone into your house, but this is not necessary. calling an ambulance or someone else for help is a perfectly safe alternative - sending him away where he might be able to harm others is not.
Posted by PreacherFred 9 years ago
PreacherFred
I certainly believe the the title of this debate, but did not agree with Maddy's ideas of what would amount to "acting accordingly. Mike was doing an excellent job in presenting the "con" in this argument. I am disappointed that he defaulted in the end. As such he "forfeited" the right to win.
Posted by mrmatt505 9 years ago
mrmatt505
I believe that the church did take the appropriate action by having the armed guards there because the did not deny anyone hospitality AND they were able to handle the situation.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by BrettAndrews 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by la_bella_vita 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by erica11 9 years ago
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