For Churches, Beefed-Up Security Is a Mixed Blessing

Soft targets for theft and violent crimes, congregations struggle to balance safety and serenity

Leif Parsons for TIME

Jesus may have taught his disciples to turn the other cheek, but these days some churches are hiring armed security teams--just in case that whole forgiveness thing doesn't work out.

A flurry of violent crimes in churches has shaken the image of houses of worship as safe havens. In October a priest in New Jersey died after being stabbed 32 times in his parish rectory. In May an abortion provider was shot in the head inside a Kansas church. A Maryland woman was killed in February by her spurned husband in her church's parking lot. And that was all just this...

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