September 29, 2019
New Strategy for Combating Terrorism and Targeted Violence
U. S. Vice President Mike Pence briefed several national faith leaders at the White House Symposium on Faith-based Community Safety and Security on Wednesday, September 25 regarding Preventing Targeted Violence against Faith Communities and the new U.S. Counter Terrorism Strategy including domestic terrorism. Just days before DHS Acting Secretary McAleenan announced the new in depth national strategy at the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC. After the Vice President addressed the national faith leaders CEN National Operations Director Michael Boler, who attended along with CEN Founder and President Mary Marr, noted: “His remarks demonstrated heartfelt concern and faith leaders responded with several standing ovations.”
During his roll out last week of the new strategy Acting Secretary McAleenan stated: “This DHS Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence clearly elucidates the nature of today’s domestic challenges, including providing an extended assessment of the danger posed by domestic terrorists, including racially- and ethnically-motivated violent extremists, particularly white supremacist violent extremists."
CEN President Mary Marr has been tasked by the Acting Secretary, along with ten other national faith leaders, to provide recommendations to the DHS Homeland Security Advisory Committee in October on how DHS and the faith community may strengthen timely and actionable two-way information sharing, joint training, incident prevention and mitigation, and increase critical faith-based resources. Marr stated: “After conducting site visits, where the faith community has been targeted such as the Louisiana churches which were burned to the ground, and examining the statistics of vandalism or violent assaults against houses of worship, CEN strongly endorses the new DHS strategy which focuses upon recognizing and reporting violent behavioral indicators. Violence against people of any faith holds no place in a civil society. Inflammatory labels against people of faith and unrestrained rhetoric in our secular and social media landscape today are threatening the Church as never before. Critical protection steps need to be taken now by church leadership before congregants are hesitant to assemble as Scripture commands. Having a church security plan with teams who are trained and practice, is essential for anyone tasked with protecting churches and ministries.”
Marr said, “The DHS Secretary tasked the DHS HSAC Subcommittee to: Evaluate the adverse impacts that violent extremists and domestic terrorists are having on the faith community. What more can be done by the Department to prevent these attacks and increase community resistance to mobilization to violence? What are the best practices and lessons learned for consideration? I would add the Church needs to ask itself: What is our responsibility in security apart from local law enforcement? Are we addressing what is needed timely such as having security plans and trained teams in place along with suspicious behavior identification protocols at minimum?”
CEN provides resources to assist you, your family, your church and your Christian community to be ready to respond to any crisis large or small:ReadyChristian
Church Safety Security 101
Suspicious Activity Pre-indicators
Federal Resources and Assistance
“If You See Something, Say Something!”
Christians are reminded to call local law enforcement or 911 to report any constitutionally unprotected suspicious activity such as those who are:
- Acquiring suspicious quantities of ammunition, explosives, hydrogen peroxide, acetone, gasoline, propane or fertilizer, or conducting activities using storage facilities to construct explosive devices.
- Providing material support to violent groups.
- Engaging in violent messaging via email, online, or social media.
- Conducting surveillance activities i.e. service times, entry/exits and parking lots.
- For those in church leadership nationwide to be mindful of the safety of their flock and take responsible appropriate actions. Acts 20: 28 -29
- For church and ministry Safety Security teams to have the wisdom of Solomon and the willingness of Esther to stand in the gap. John 15:13
- For first responders by encouraging and thanking those who are charged with protecting the flock.
- For you own church security team and consider how you can you support the team.
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