V – Do

DHS Outlines Steps Houses of Worship Can Take To Protect Themselves

To “mitigate the threat of targeted violence and prepare for potential incidents” against churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released Dec. 6, 2023 the PDF guide, Physical Security Performance Goals for Faith-Based Communities, which outlines measures “faith-based communities” can take to protect themselves from current vicious tensions.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Church Security Book Review: Defending the Flock ]

This guide comes as reported hate crimes have spiked since the onset of the war between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, A Prayer for Church Security Team Members ]

DHS emphasized in its 2024 Homeland Threat Assessment that the danger of violence from individuals radicalized in the United States will “remain high . . . marked by lone offenders or small group attacks that occur with little warning.”

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Chart: The Spectrum of Potential Threat Personas in Self-Defense and Church Security ]

The 16-page document examines threats and vulnerabilities to provide targeted strategies organized by the functional categories of Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. It also includes a glossary of security-related words and phrases, and links to multiple resources under each category. Here are some of the guide’s recommendations:

Church Security Book Review: Defending the Flock

The US is in a heightened threat environment due to violent conflicts around the world, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Lone offenders, motivated by a range of savage ideologies, pose the most likely threat. DHS urges the American public to stay vigilant.

[ Read SemperVerus articles on the topic of Situational Awarenewss ]

Middle East expert Walid Phares says the charter of the terrorist organization Hamas calls for not only the killing of Jews and the elimination of Israel, but also for the killing of Christians worldwide. He says, “This is a jihadist movement, and it is manifesting itself in America and Canada, and in Western Europe. We have never been at this level of danger for our democratic world.”

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Chart: The Spectrum of Potential Threat Personas in Self-Defense and Church Security ]

Acts of targeted violence against houses of worship are a real—and potentially growing—problem in the United States, says the DHS. The best way to mitigate a potential attack is to take a holistic approach to security.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, A Prayer for Church Security Team Members ]

A necessary and excellent resource for establishing a well-rounded, comprehensive church security program is the book, Defending the Flock: A Security Guide for Church Safety Directors by veteran police officer, retired Army captain, and founder of Sheepdog Church Security (SDCS) certification curriculum, Kris Moloney.

IDPA: Practical Training for Self-Defense and Church Security

If you conceal carry for the purpose of being ready to defend yourself or others in the event of a lethal threat—including while volunteering on your church security team—you should consider becoming a member of the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), the shooting sport that simulates self-defense scenarios and real life encounters.

[ Read articles in the SemperVerus category of Church Security ]

Regularly conducting drills at your local gun range by standing in a lane and firing at a static bullseye target is important and helps develop and maintain your shooting skill and marksmanship. But it doesn’t reflect real-world environments where you need to move, draw from your concealed holster, seek cover, and make on-the-spot “shoot” and “don’t-shoot” decisions against one or multiple targets.

The Importance of Being Civil and Polite

The third element of the five SemperVerus components is BE, which emphasizes the importance of intentionally reinforcing rectitude in yourself. It’s stated thusly:

III. Be: developing rich personal leadership character of exemplary moral and ethical quality.

The 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant put it this way: “It is not necessary that while I live, I live happily; but it is necessary that so long as I live, I should live honorably.”

In his article, Why Politeness and Etiquette Matter, blogger Scott Monty references the handbook George Washington wrote when he was only a teenager titled, Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. Washington’s final rule is a guiding light for all of us, “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”

[ Read the SemperVerus article, 10 Lessons From Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Schedule ]

Monty’s list of reasons why being civil is vital to a life well lived is because it fuels: