A church in Joplin, Missouri is facing criticism for raffling off two AR-15s during last week’s Father’s Day celebration in order to increase attendance and “get more people to follow Jesus.”
“Want to win a Black Rain AR-15?” a Facebook posting on the Ignite Church Facebook page asked. “Dads, you earn an entry for yourself, each child you have and if you bring your dad to church. Those that registered last week get to register again!!! Don’t miss this.”
In a YouTube video advertising the promotion, Pastor Heath Mooneyham promised that “you can kill a weak zombie with that thing” or “double tap a zombie” with another gun, “the “Lamborghini of AR-15s.” Mooneyham added: “So get your butts to church, if you’re late don’t cry to me that you’re a pansy and you cannot set your alarm, alright? You’re a big boy. You got big balls between your legs, you’re a dad right?” Watch it:
The lead pastor told the Joplin Globe “We’re just dudes,” adding, “If we can get more people to follow Jesus, I’ll give away 1,000 guns. I don’t care.”
However, the contest sparked controversy, as some residents accused the church of promoting violence. “God Does NOT Condone GUNS, VIOLENCE or WAR!” one Facebook commenter said. Steve Urie, a pastor at another local church called the raffle “careless and reckless.”
Mooneyham pushed back, arguing that “People are crazy, period. Murder has been going on since the beginning of time.” Ignite isn’t the first church to raffle off weapons. In March, the Kentucky Baptist Convention announced that it would “point people to Christ” by giving away guns at Second Amendment Celebrations hosted across the state.