American churches and synagogues are stepping up their security following a surge in attacks on places of worship.
California’s Geneva Presbyterian Church is spending A$30,000 a month on protection after a gunman killed one person and wounded five others at the church in May.
Armed guards stand watch every weekday and during Sunday services.
An armed police officer watches over Sunday services at a Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
A white supremacist fatally shot the pastor and eight worshippers at a sister church just two blocks away seven years ago.
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker is boosting security at his North Carolina synagogue after being taken hostage at a Texas synagogue at the start of the year.
Rabbi Jon Leener used to unlock the front door right of Pittsburgh’s Tree Of Life synagogue before Shabbat dinners.
But not any more, after a gunman murdered 11 Jewish worshippers in 2018.
He’s installed security cameras, a buzz-in system for visitors and an armed guard.
The Associated Press reports violent attacks on places of worship surged by a third between 2014 and 2018.
Security consultants told the news agency that all faiths are under attack from radicals and extremists, and congregants are reticent to show up.
Some of those who do, carry concealed handguns to services.
The federal government has set aside A$260 million dollars for faith community security.
Rabbi Leener told AP: “It’s terribly unfortunate that we live in an age when we need to compromise our value of openness for the threat of violence, but that is just the reality at the moment.”