Photos: US couples don ammo crowns, cradle guns in Pennsylvania church ceremony

World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, a controversial church, led by the son of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, believes the AR-15 symbolizes the "rod of iron" in the biblical book of Revelation, and encouraged couples to bring the weapons to a commitment ceremony in Pennsylvania. The semiautomatic rifles are similar to the weapons used in a Florida high school shooting two weeks earlier.

Updated On Mar 02, 2018 08:31 AM IST 9 Photos
Copy Link
1 / 9
Yeon Ah Lee Moon, wife of controversial pastor Hyung Jin Moon, holds a weapon during service at World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in New Foundland, Pennsylvania. Dozens of couples donned crowns and cradled guns at a ceremony on Wednesday in a part of rural Pennsylvania that voted 68% for President Trump in 2016, underscoring the gulf between those who defend the US constitutional right to bear arms and advocates of gun control. (Don Emmert / AFP)

Yeon Ah Lee Moon, wife of controversial pastor Hyung Jin Moon, holds a weapon during service at World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in New Foundland, Pennsylvania. Dozens of couples donned crowns and cradled guns at a ceremony on Wednesday in a part of rural Pennsylvania that voted 68% for President Trump in 2016, underscoring the gulf between those who defend the US constitutional right to bear arms and advocates of gun control. (Don Emmert / AFP)

Updated on Mar 02, 2018 08:31 AM IST
Copy Link
2 / 9
Bags are inspected as worshippers arrive for service at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary service. The church, which has a worldwide following, believes the AR-15 symbolizes the “rod of iron” in the book of Revelation, and encouraged couples to bring the weapons to the commitment ceremony. (Don Emmert / AFP)

Bags are inspected as worshippers arrive for service at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary service. The church, which has a worldwide following, believes the AR-15 symbolizes the “rod of iron” in the book of Revelation, and encouraged couples to bring the weapons to the commitment ceremony. (Don Emmert / AFP)

Updated on Mar 02, 2018 08:31 AM IST
Copy Link
3 / 9
An attendant checked each weapon at the door to make sure it was unloaded and secured with a zip tie, and the elaborate commitment ceremony went off without a hitch. The event was organized by Hyung Jin Moon, younger son of the late Sun Myung Moon, whose World Peace and Unification Sanctuary is a tiny spin-off of the Unification Church founded by his father, a self-declared “messiah”. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images / AFP)

An attendant checked each weapon at the door to make sure it was unloaded and secured with a zip tie, and the elaborate commitment ceremony went off without a hitch. The event was organized by Hyung Jin Moon, younger son of the late Sun Myung Moon, whose World Peace and Unification Sanctuary is a tiny spin-off of the Unification Church founded by his father, a self-declared “messiah”. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images / AFP)

Updated on Mar 02, 2018 08:31 AM IST
Copy Link
4 / 9
With state police and a smattering of protesters standing watch outside the church, brides clad in white and grooms in dark suits brought dozens of unloaded AR-15s into World Peace and Unification Sanctuary for the religious event that doubled as an advertisement for the Second Amendment. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images / AFP)

With state police and a smattering of protesters standing watch outside the church, brides clad in white and grooms in dark suits brought dozens of unloaded AR-15s into World Peace and Unification Sanctuary for the religious event that doubled as an advertisement for the Second Amendment. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images / AFP)

Updated on Mar 02, 2018 08:31 AM IST
Copy Link
5 / 9
A sign directs people with guns during the ceremony. The event fell on the same day students returned to their high school in Florida for the first time since a 19-year-old used an AR-15 to kill 17 students and school staff two weeks ago. With the United States again riled by debate on gun control, an elementary school near the Sanctuary closed for the day. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images / AFP)

A sign directs people with guns during the ceremony. The event fell on the same day students returned to their high school in Florida for the first time since a 19-year-old used an AR-15 to kill 17 students and school staff two weeks ago. With the United States again riled by debate on gun control, an elementary school near the Sanctuary closed for the day. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images / AFP)

Updated on Mar 02, 2018 08:31 AM IST
Copy Link
6 / 9
A man wearing a crown of rifle shells takes communion at World Peace and Unification Sanctuary. Those in the congregation, like many other Americans, believe US school shootings do not justify stricter gun laws in a country where firearms are linked to more than 30,000 deaths annually. (Don Emmert / AFP)

A man wearing a crown of rifle shells takes communion at World Peace and Unification Sanctuary. Those in the congregation, like many other Americans, believe US school shootings do not justify stricter gun laws in a country where firearms are linked to more than 30,000 deaths annually. (Don Emmert / AFP)

Updated on Mar 02, 2018 08:31 AM IST
Copy Link
7 / 9
The commitment ceremony, attended by around 500 people, evoked some of the mass weddings, for which Hyung Jin Moon’s father was famous, with the younger Moon deviating in encouraging congregants to carry an AR-15. (Jacqueline Larma / AP)

The commitment ceremony, attended by around 500 people, evoked some of the mass weddings, for which Hyung Jin Moon’s father was famous, with the younger Moon deviating in encouraging congregants to carry an AR-15. (Jacqueline Larma / AP)

Updated on Mar 02, 2018 08:31 AM IST
Copy Link
8 / 9
Last Saturday, the younger Moon organized a dinner “in thanks of President Trump” to benefit the Gun Owners Foundation. One long-time hunter and congregant Andrew Kessler said he became “more favorable to gun ownership” after attending the Newfoundland church. (Don Emmert / AFP)

Last Saturday, the younger Moon organized a dinner “in thanks of President Trump” to benefit the Gun Owners Foundation. One long-time hunter and congregant Andrew Kessler said he became “more favorable to gun ownership” after attending the Newfoundland church. (Don Emmert / AFP)

Updated on Mar 02, 2018 08:31 AM IST
Copy Link
9 / 9
A dozen protesters gathered outside the event, holding up posters that read “Worship God, Not Guns” and “God Does Not Bless Guns.” Demonstrators described the event tantamount to political endorsement and that it was “time to revoke” the non-profit status of such religious groups. (Jacqueline Larma / AP)

A dozen protesters gathered outside the event, holding up posters that read “Worship God, Not Guns” and “God Does Not Bless Guns.” Demonstrators described the event tantamount to political endorsement and that it was “time to revoke” the non-profit status of such religious groups. (Jacqueline Larma / AP)

Updated on Mar 02, 2018 08:31 AM IST
Copy Link
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, November 29, 2021