The above two lucky fathers were the winners of Ignite Church’s Father’s Day raffle in Joplin, Missouri last Sunday. The semi-automatic weapon giveaway is the brainchild of Ignite’s lead pastor, Heath Mooneyham, who thought up the raffle idea as a way to reach 18-35 year old males. Mooneyham explained the reasoning behind the idea to the Joplin Globe in the following ways.
“We thought instead of a lot of small things, we’d give away stuff the guys were interested in…”
“If we get people in the door, we get to preach the gospel. If we can get more people to follow Jesus, I’ll give away 1,000 guns. I don’t care.”
“It doesn’t enter our minds that we’re potentially harming society by giving away a gun. It’s just our nature, where as if you have a church where it’s 75- to 85-year-old women, they would give away a nice quilt, and they’d be excited about it. That’s how excited our church got about the AR-15 because that speaks our language.”
Many on Facebook weren’t convinced.
“Why does a good person need an assault rifle? This church is giving Missouri a bad name. We’ve heard about your “tactics” and “beliefs”, and they scare us.
And don’t accuse me of “hate;” I’m not the one raffling off weapons! I don’t hate you; I pity that you are so scared of life that you feel the need to arm yourself.”
“READ YOUR BIBLES!!!! God Does NOT Condone GUNS, VIOLENCE or WAR!!!! You are not A Church”
“By giving away guns, you are contributing to the same ideals of radical Muslim extremists and religious terrorists. wow…wow…wow….this is absolutely flooring to see and hear from a ‘Christian’ church.”
Interestingly, one commenter suggested that Ignite Church should instead donate the guns to his organization so that the weapons could be melted down and forged into art and gardening tools in a modern day living out of the biblical verse regarding beating swords into plows.