An American church held a weird gun-loving ceremony with AR-15 rifles

They also wore crowns made of bullets

Crowns made out of bullets, rifles clutched in one hand while the other receives communion wine – this is gun worship without irony or metaphor. A Pennsylvanian church literally incorporated guns into its church services on Wednesday.

Their gun of choice is an AR-15, the same rifle used by 19-year-old Nikolas Jacob Cruz to kill 17 people inside his high school in Parkland, Florida. The Unification Church believes that the AR-15 symbolises the “rod of iron” described in the book of Revelation (in The Bible). In the scripture those on the receiving end of the rod are: “dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels”.

As such, Reverend Sean Moon, who leads the church encouraged couples to bring the weapons to the service to receive a blessing. According to a report by USA today, he prayed for “a kingdom of peace police and peace militia where the citizens, through the right given to them by almighty God to keep and bear arms, will be able to protect one another and protect human flourishing.”

Protesters gathered outside the service that fell on the same day that students returned to school in Parkland. Some held posters that read: “Worship God, Not Guns” and “God Does Not Bless Guns.”

Given that an estimated 500 people attended, many brandishing the same weapon that was used to massacre defenseless students, the local school district was forced to move students at a nearby elementary school to other campuses.

Even though the church confirmed that each weapon was checked at the door to make sure it was unloaded and secured, protesters confronted church members: “It’s scaring people in the community,” one said. “Are you aware of that?”

Unification Church has a history of peculiarity. It was started by a man who proclaimed to be the messiah who then became known for performing mass weddings of up to 30,000 couples at a time.

Teens around the US have been staging walkouts to push for gun reform, and one survivor from the Florida shooting won’t return to school until gun control passes.