Rev. John Koletas, of the Grace Baptist Church in Troy, N.Y., plans to raffle off an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle during a church service on March 23.
The AR-15, which can fire hundreds of rounds per minute, was used by Sandy Hook school shooter Adam Lanza and Aurora, Colo. theater shooter James Holmes.
“We’re honoring gun owners and hunters,” Rev. Koletas told the New York Daily News. “And we’re being a blessing and a help to people who have been attacked, viciously attacked, by socialists and anti-Christian people, the politicians and the media.”
Rev. Koletas did not provide evidence of these vicious attacks upon gun owners and hunters.
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While Rev. Koletas supports the Second Amendment, he doesn't want others exercising their First Amendment right to voice opposition.
"If someone doesn't want to own a gun, that's their right," Rev. Koletas told the Times Union of Albany. "At the same time, I don't think we should be critical of legal gun owners who gave us our freedom."
Rev. Koletas' flyer for the gun giveaway shows an image of a AR-15 modified to meet New York's new gun-control law and includes the words of Jesus, "My peace I give unto you."
However, that Bible verse does not refer to guns, weapons or anything of this world.
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Jesus says in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
After mangling the Bible verse, Rev. Koletas claimed it was those who oppose him who don't read the Good Book.
“[The giveaway] may be foreign to most city dwellers," stated Rev. Koletas. "It may seem controversial to people who don’t read their Bibles.”
Several area pastors do oppose the gun giveaway.
“I think it’s sending the wrong message entirely,” said the Rev. Willie Bacote, a pastor of Missing Link AME Zion Church.
“We promulgate the gospel as peacemakers," added Rev. Bacote. "We’re not people who give away guns. Even the Bible teaches us to turn the other cheek.”