ONLY in America?
The Kentucky Baptist Convention is leading “Second Amendment Celebrations,” where churches around the state give away guns as door prizes in what a church spokesman calls “an outreach to rednecks”.
As many as 1,000 people are expected at the next one, on Thursday at Lone Oak Baptist Church in Paducah, where they will be given a free steak dinner and the chance to win one of 25 handguns, long guns and shotguns.
The goal is to “point people to Christ,” the church says in a flier. Chuck McAlister, an ex-pastor, master storyteller and former Outdoor Channel hunting show host who presides at the events as the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s team leader for evangelism, said 1,678 men made “professions of faith” at about 50 such events last year, most in Kentucky
Paul Chitwood, the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s executive director, said such results speak for themselves. “It’s been very effective,” he said in an interview.
But other clergy question what guns and gun rights have to do with with sharing the Gospel.
“How ironic to use guns to lure men in to hear a message about Jesus, who said, ‘Put away the sword,'” said the Rev. Joe Phelps, pastor of Louisville’s independent Highland Baptist Church.
“Giveaways for God” seem wrong, he said. “Can you picture Jesus giving away guns, or toasters or raffle tickets? … He gave away bread once, but that was as a sign, not a sales pitch.”
Nancy Jo Kemper, pastor of New Union Church in Versailles, Ky., and former director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, said: “Churches should not be encouraging people in their communities to arm themselves against their neighbors, but to love their neighbors, as instructed by Jesus.”