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SBC pastor Drake seeks gun permit for protection

BUENA PARK, Calif. (BP)–Southern Baptist pastor Wiley Drake, whose efforts to house homeless people on church property gained him a misdemeanor conviction, has applied for a concealed gun permit because of threats he says he has received from some of those same people and from advocates of abortion and homosexual rights.
Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Buena Park, Calif., also has announced the formation of Americans United for the Unity of Church and State, an organization he says is intended to return the church and the government to the “biblical foundation and principles which were understood by the founding fathers of America and guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
Though he applied for the gun permit April 1, Drake has yet to be informed if it has been granted, he told Baptist Press July 12. The sheriff’s office told him about two weeks ago it was being considered, Drake said. His attempt to gain the permit was reported by The Orange County Register, a daily newspaper in Santa Ana, Calif.
“I work on a daily basis with dangerous criminals that are on probation and parole with dangerous backgrounds,” Drake wrote in his application, according to The Register. “Most are rehabilitated, but in many cases, they revert to previous habits and attitudes which require me to evict them from our property. … I have been threatened many times and assaulted by these people.”
His public opposition to abortion and homosexual rights has resulted in telephone death threats from “homosexual people and abortion people,” he said, according to the newspaper. Another reason he gave in his application for requesting a permit was concern for his safety when he travels through a particular area to deposit the church contributions in a bank, Drake told Baptist Press.
Drake keeps a pistol in his office and a shotgun at home, he told The Register.
He has “never been a particular gun advocate as such,” but he believes he has a scriptural basis for seeking to carry a weapon, Drake told BP. He cited the wearing of swords by the builders of Jerusalem’s wall in the Old Testament Book of Nehemiah and the admonition by Jesus in Luke 22 to his disciples to buy swords.
After a lengthy disagreement between Drake and the city of Buena Park over the church’s housing of the homeless, the pastor was convicted in 1997 of misdemeanor criminal zoning violations, according to The Register.
Drake announced the establishment of a new church-state organization July 4. In a press release, he said planned projects include encouraging churches and municipal buildings to display the 10 Commandments, reintroduction of the Bible as a text in public schools, registration of voters, education on biblical qualities for candidates and reestablishing school prayer.
About 50 people have contacted him to say they want to be a part of the group, and about a dozen organizations have expressed a desire to cooperate with it, Drake told BP.
It was not an accident, he said, the name differs by only one word, but a critical one, from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a strict separationist organization based in Washington, D.C. AU has done a “disservice” to religion in its efforts, Drake said.
“We certainly do not want a church state or a state church, but … so many of our foundations have biblical roots, and we need to just get back to that,” Drake told BP.
Drake has proposed several resolutions at the SBC meeting in recent years. He was a chief advocate for an economic boycott of The Disney Company. Messengers in 1997 urged Southern Baptists to refrain from patronizing Disney-related businesses in a resolution adopted overwhelmingly. The resolution cited the objectionable content in the products of some of Disney’s subsidiaries, as well as the company’s pro-homosexual policies. Disneyland is located only a few miles from the property of First Southern Baptist Church.

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