The Ignite Church in Joplin, Missouri, gave away two Black Rain AR-15 rifles on Father's Day, June 15.
In a YouTube video (below) to promote the rifle raffle, Pastor Heath Mooneyham stated, "We thought instead of a lot of small things, we’d give away stuff the guys were interested in.
“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?" added Pastor Mooneyham, notes ThinkProgress.org. "You’re a big boy. You got big balls between your legs, you’re a dad right?
“We’re not trying to put on a show for anybody,” Pastor Mooneyham said. “We’re just dudes.”
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In addition to lethal weapon giveaways, the Ignite Church also features loud rock music during its services.
“I think giving away weapons, with all the violence in this country, gives way to new violence,” Steve Urie, pastor at the Joplin Diversity Fellowship, told The Joplin Globe. “I don’t think it’s just nontraditional. I think it’s careless and reckless. There are other ways to attract young people. If it takes an assault rifle to hunt, that’s not a sport.”
For his part, Pastor Mooneyham told The Joplin Globe, “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.”
Pastor Mooneyham did not mention that the AR-15 was used to kill 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and 20 children at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut.
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In defense of his assault weapon giveaway, Pastor Mooneyham said the raffle was supported by churchgoers.
“It doesn’t enter our minds that we’re potentially harming society by giving away a gun,” Pastor Mooneyham stated. “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.”