Father Rod Bower’s latest message. Picture: Twitter
Father Rod Bower’s latest message. Picture: Twitter

‘America can never be great again’

OUTSPOKEN Anglican priest Father Rod Bower has weighed into the gun control debate in the wake of the latest mass shooting in the US.

In a post to the Gosford congregation's 50,000 Facebook followers, Fr. Bower described the US as a "society destroying itself from within" and a declining empire that "can never be great again".

"When will they love their kids more than their guns," the message on the parish's now famous noticeboard reads in the attached photo, which even drew the attention of The Washington Post.

The message has been displayed since January but is sadly relevenat once more, after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, killing 17 teachers and students and devastating an entire community.

Australia has not had a single mass shooting, defined as five victims or more, since Parliament passed strict gun control laws in 1996 in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre, in which Martin Bryant killed 35 and wounded 23.

Fr. Bower has been raising eyebrows with his church noticeboard since 2013 when he displayed the controversial message, "Dear Christians, some people are gay, get over it", which quickly went viral.

Since then, the messages have touched on hot-button political topics including refugees ("If only refugees were greyhounds"), same-sex marriage ("For God's sake, just do it") and even TV host Sonia Kruger's comments on banning Muslim immigration ("No Sonia Kruger. Just no").

In an interview last week with New Zealand radio station RNZ, Fr. Bower said it was important that the church not be passive when it came to politics. "Religious leaders have a responsibility, I think ethically and morally, to speak into the life of the nation," he said.