Things sure are tough in Jesusland! Apparently lacking followers, Kentucky Baptist churches are resorting to an interesting new method to win converts: gun giveaways they have dubbed “outreach to rednecks.”
The Kentucky Baptist Convention is doing exactly what Jesus would want: luring converts by giving them the means to murder others! At their “Second Amendment Celebrations,” churches across the state invite gun lovers everywhere to enjoy a nice, juicy steak and a chance to win fabulous prizes–all of which are capable of sending someone to meet Jesus very efficiently.
According to Chuck McAlister, a former pastor and Outdoor Channel hunting show host, over 1,600 men made “professions of faith” at about 50 gun giveaway events last year. The hillbilly handouts managed to lure over 500 people out of their homes on a snowy January day to a gun event at Highview Baptist Church. Sixty-one of those men “made decisions to seek salvation,” according to McAlister. According to Paul Chitwood, the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s executive director, “it’s been very effective.”
Some pastors question what giveaways of killing tools have to do with Jesus’ message. “How ironic to use guns to lure men in to hear a message about Jesus, who said, ‘Put away the sword,’ ” said 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 and the 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.” She says that Second Amendment Celebrations make a ‘travesty’ of Jesus’ message. “How terrible it would be if one of those guns given away at a church were to cause the death of an innocent victim.” She says that the gun giveaway program “verges on bribery” and “makes a mockery of what evangelism…ought to be.”
McAlister acknowledges that the gun giveaways don’t have anything to do with Jesus, but says they are effective. “We get meat hunters who hunt just to put food on the table” along with “executives who think nothing of paying $10,000 to hunt bear in Alaska,” he said. “Guys all want to receive something for free.”