Could a Smith & Wesson M&P get you to join a church? What about a free Winchester 37? Would that prompt you to make it rain when the pastor calls for parishioners to pay their tithes? If not, what if Pastor Heath Mooneyham slides you a Colt 1911 or a Glock?As ridiculous as it sounds, this actually happened at the Ignite Church in Joplin, Missouri. Per reports, during last week’s Father’s Day celebration, the gun-loving reverend handed out guns in order to boost church attendance and “get more people to follow Jesus.”
There was a posting on the church’s Facebook page that read:
“Want to win a Black Rain AR-15? 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.”
And there is even a YouTube video:
And don’t you bring Pastor Mooneyham no crazy talk about the kind of guns he raffled off. He said, “I despise the term ‘assault rifle.’ Whoever coined that phrase has to be misinformed. The appearance of things — I think that’s our story as a church — don’t let the appearance of something stop you.”
In response to other forms of criticism, Pastor Mooneyham told the Joplin Globe, “We’re just dudes.” He added, “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.”
Fair enough, but would Jesus?
Mooneyham doesn’t seem to think so. Rev. Gunplay explained: “People are crazy, period. Murder has been going on since the beginning of time. The first murder recorded in the Bible was with a rock.”
For the record, Mooneyham is not the only pastor to try this. Months ago, the Kentucky Baptist Convention did an “outreach to Rednecks” in order to boost male attendance in churches.