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Worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles hold commitment…

A gun-obsessed church pastor has held a blessing ceremony for couples who turned up with AR-15 rifles and bullet crowns.

The controversial World Peace and Unification Sanctuary church, in Pennsylvania, held the event for its gun-loving congregation just two weeks after 17 people were killed when a gunman opened fire with an AR-15 at a Florida high school.

On Wednesday, dozens of couples attended the church, wearing white robes, golden crowns – many made of bullets – and carrying their rifles.  

Rev. Sean Moon, who believes the Bible prophesied the AR-15 as the ‘rod of iron’, had warned anyone planning to attend without a weapon, or a $700 coupon from a gun store proving they planned to buy one, that they wouldn’t be welcome. 

‘OK, you may be able to sit in the back and receive the blessing like the ungrateful punk that you are, the ungrateful piece of shish that you are,’ he tells his followers. ‘… And you’ll know that you’re a piece of crap.’

‘Will you go to hell, will you lose salvation if you don’t bring a crown and a rod of iron? No. Will you be a bitch if you don’t? Yes,’ he added. 

 

A man wears a crown and holds an unloaded weapon at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, in Newfoundland, Pa. Worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles participated in a commitment ceremony at the Pennsylvania-based church. The event Wednesday morning led a nearby school to cancel classes for the day. The church's leader, the Rev. Sean Moon, said in a prayer that God gave people the right to bear arms. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

A man wears a crown and holds an unloaded weapon at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, in Newfoundland, Pa. Worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles participated in a commitment ceremony at the Pennsylvania-based church. The event Wednesday morning led a nearby school to cancel classes for the day. The church’s leader, the Rev. Sean Moon, said in a prayer that God gave people the right to bear arms. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

Worshipers drank holy wine and exchanged wedding vows in a commitment ceremony at a Pennsylvania church.

The event Wednesday morning at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary led a nearby school to cancel classes.

Rev. Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah who founded the Unification Church, often described as a cult, said in a prayer that God gave people the right to bear arms. 

The sanctuary believes the AR-15 symbolizes the ‘rod of iron’ in the book of Revelation, and encouraged couples to bring the weapons to the ceremony.  

A woman has her weapon checked for being unloaded and zip-tied at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, Wednesday Feb. 28, 2018 in Newfoundland, Pa. Worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles participated in a commitment ceremony at the Pennsylvania-based church. The event Wednesday morning led a nearby school to cancel classes for the day. The church's leader, the Rev. Sean Moon, said in a prayer that God gave people the right to bear arms. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

A woman has her weapon checked for being unloaded and zip-tied at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, Wednesday Feb. 28, 2018 in Newfoundland, Pa. Worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles participated in a commitment ceremony at the Pennsylvania-based church. The event Wednesday morning led a nearby school to cancel classes for the day. The church’s leader, the Rev. Sean Moon, said in a prayer that God gave people the right to bear arms. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

Moon believes the crown and rifle are ‘accouterments given to us by the king of kings.’

The event sparked a protest outside the church where demonstrators held up signs calling the group an ‘armed cult.’

Church officials said that weapons were unloaded, secured with zip ties and checked at the door.

Moon is the son of the church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a Korean evangelist and self-proclaimed messiah who died in 2012 aged 92.  

Men wear crowns and hold unloaded weapons at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, Wednesday Feb. 28, 2018 in Newfoundland, Pa. Worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles participated in a commitment ceremony at the Pennsylvania-based church. The event Wednesday morning led a nearby school to cancel classes for the day. The church's leader, the Rev. Sean Moon, said in a prayer that God gave people the right to bear arms. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

Men wear crowns and hold unloaded weapons at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, Wednesday Feb. 28, 2018 in Newfoundland, Pa. Worshippers clutching AR-15 rifles participated in a commitment ceremony at the Pennsylvania-based church. The event Wednesday morning led a nearby school to cancel classes for the day. The church’s leader, the Rev. Sean Moon, said in a prayer that God gave people the right to bear arms. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

Moon’s brother Justin Moon, founded gun manufacturers Kahr Firearms Group, based in Greeley, Pennsylvania.

Sanctuary is an offshoot of the Unification Church, whose followers are sometimes called ‘Moonies,’ according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which refers to it as a cult. 

The blessing ceremony today follows the church’s ‘President Trump Thank You Dinner’ on Saturday. 

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