Monday, March 10, 2014

Kentucky Baptists lure unchurched with gun giveaways

The Kentucky Baptist Convention thinks it's found a way to attract non-churchgoing men.

Give away guns. At church.

You read that right: According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Kentucky Baptist Convention is staging "Second Amendment Celebrations" at member churches around the state.

As an "outreach to rednecks," as the convention's spokesman put it, the churches are giving away guns as door prizes as a way to lure unchurched men and then, if all goes according to plan, convert them into followers of Christ.

More than 1,000 people were expected to show up at Lone Oak Baptist Church in Paducah this month for a free steak dinner and a chance to win one of 25 handguns, long guns and shotguns.

Chuck McAlister, an ex-pastor and former host of a hunting show on the Outdoor Channel, presides at these gunfests in Kentucky churches. He told the Courier-Journal that 1,678 men had made "professions of faith" at about 50 such events last year, most of them in Kentucky.

But the newspaper talked to some pastors who thought the idea was a bit backwards if the goal was to make these men disciples of Jesus -- also known as The Prince of Peace.

"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 Highland Baptist Church.

Read the full Courier-Journal story and watch a related video here.

I checked with the state Baptist Convention of North Carolina, whose spokesman, Brian Davis, said he's not heard of any gun-giveaways by churches in the Tar Heel State.

And Davis said his organization of 4,300 Baptist churches has rules in place that prohibit firearms at its camps and conference centers.

"So it would be difficult for us to endorse that as a convention because of our own policies," Davis said.

Still, he did not pass judgment on what the Kentucky Baptists are doing.

"That's a new one to me," he said. "But the Scriptures do say we should try to engage people where they are."

In Charlotte, at least one church is going the other way: At Christmastime for the last seven years, New Life Fellowship Center in the city's Double Oak community has offered gift cards in exchange for people dropping off guns at the church.

The program brought in about 120 guns the first year. The church, pastored by John Kee, turns the guns over to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to be destroyed.

-- Tim Funk


Anonymous said...

Nice move using legal 2nd Amendment
rights. Bravo to the Founders.

Shamash said...

Reminds me of the old Beat Farmers tune:

Gun Sale at the Church.

Well we'll ask the lord to
forgive us for all our sins
and we'll look at the latest in
gold plated firing pins

Well my two main men are
Jesus and old John Birch

So I'm going on down to
the gun sale at the church
yeah let's go

Anonymous said...

As the Bible says, God loves a gun owner.

Matt M said...

"Blessed be the LORD, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle;"

Psalm 144:1

Anonymous said...

What a can of legal worms this could open up. First, I'd be offended to be referred to as a "redneck" by some holier-than-thou preacher.

And who buys the guns for these giveaways? I know the church doesn't have an FFL. And if they're using someone with an FFL, even a licensed gun shop, to purchase or donate the guns, that's technically a "straw man" transaction and highly illegal.

This is sort of the flip side of that thing where some church in Charlotte offers cash or gift cards to people who turn in their guns. I think both concepts are illegal, not to mention the church (any church) sticking its nose into federal gun laws.

But I wonder what this church's next attempt to lure non-churchgoing males into Sunday services will be? Maybe some free range time, or a discount on ammo? The possibilities are almost endless.

But hey, I love Jeebus as much as the next, strike that...the next man, so I'd gladly sit through a few sermons in exchange for a new Smith & Wesson Model 29 or a new Colt 1911.

Hallelujah and Amen!

Anonymous said...

There was a school shooting at a Paducah, KY high school on 12/1/ a prayer group...killing three.

Anonymous said...

You know, Tim, this little story of yours doesn't quite fit into the legal definition of plagiarism, but you're sure cutting it close. The Courier-Journal isn't the only paper that ran a story about this, and some of your story here is made of uncredited direct quotes from those media sources. Or maybe you figure someone's remarks made in a media interview become public domain once they're published? Just sort of forget about someone else writing this story and their byline being on it, huh?

This is a great example of cut-and-paste journalism. You should be proud of your computer skills.

Tim Funk said...

Tim Funk here.

Tim Funk here...It's called curating, Anonymous. Other bloggers pick up my stories all the time.

I credited the Louisville Courier-Journal THREE TIMES, and even included a link to its story. How does that qualify as uncredited?

I write hundreds of original stories every year. So I am puzzled and a bit irked by your accusation that I am somehow unprofessional.