I understand that people think this pastor and his church are utterly bonkers. But this action must be seen in the context of the wider debate it represents.

I support him. I don’t expect this story to translate well to those outside the U.S., but it makes perfect sense and the only way I can relate it is by way of analogy:

Let’s say there is a movement within the construction workers’ union to ban all nail guns on the premise of safety, and some within the industry are in favour while the rest oppose it on the grounds that building a house would take much longer if they were restricted to using hammers. At the union’s Annual Convention, those who oppose the ban decide to bring nail guns with them, without nails, as a message to the union that they oppose the ban.

This story must be seen within the wider debate over gun rights and gun control in the United States. Yes, it’s a little loopy, but a perfectly rational means of getting publicity for the cause of people who believe in gun rights as enshrined in the Second Amendment of the Constitution.