A pro-gun control United Methodist minister from Arkansas, claiming to be a Second Amendment activist on Friday, made such inflammatory remarks during a debate on a gun resolution at the conference. United Methodist Church of Arkansas in Hot Springs that church officials turned off its microphone and erased video of the session.
Claims by White Hall United Methodist Church pastor Doug Phillips that gun rights were more precious than the lives of his own children have troubled an otherwise civil gathering.
A spokeswoman for the Arkansas Conference of The United Methodist Church initially attributed the missing video to a “technical glitch,” but later acknowledged the recording was intentionally deleted from the website and would be reposted as soon as possible. as possible.
Officials from the Arkansas Conference of The United Methodist Church released a video of Phillips’ remarks late Sunday afternoon. The video can be found at arkansasonline.com/66phillips/.
Phillips spoke as Arkansas Methodists were about to vote on a resolution urging members of the Arkansas congressional delegation to support gun restrictions.
It went from 75% to 25%.
The debate followed a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, at an elementary school on May 24 that left 19 students and two teachers dead, and a racially motivated massacre at a Buffalo grocery store that claimed the life to 10 blacks on May 14.
Phillips’ claims that the Second Amendment is “sacred” and that he would sacrifice any of his own children “so he could keep my guns”, left onlookers gasping and alarmed young Methodists in the audience.
Phillips later apologized, telling conference members later that day, “During our conference today, I exercised poor judgment, was impulsive and disrespectful, and I haven’t shown this conference the respect you all deserve.”
He also told the audience that he didn’t own guns, that he supported the resolution, and that he loved his children.
In a Sunday afternoon interview, Phillips said he regretted his remarks.
“A lot of people in our conference, because I’m still kind of new, they didn’t realize I was being sarcastic and some people got really hurt,” he said. “It broke my heart that I hurt someone or someone would have thought I was serious.”
In a written statement on Sunday, Bishop Gary Mueller said the Phillips’ comments “have hurt the body and, in particular, the young people who have spoken so passionately about the fear they live with regarding their safety at school.” .
Mueller noted that Phillips apologized and that “he did so with grief and deep remorse for his actions and their impact. The Conference received his apology with appreciation and grace.
“I have spoken with Reverend Phillips on several occasions and based on his public apology, my conversation with him, my knowledge of who he is and his willingness to make amends where appropriate, I believe we we can move forward,” he said. “Christians aren’t perfect, but I’m grateful to be part of a community of faith that leads with grace and deals with real-life issues through confession, repentance, and forgiveness.”