What’s the best way for a church to respond to last week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, which killed 58 and injured hundreds more? For the Oasis Church of All Nations in Oxford, Mississippi, the answer was obvious: Raffle off two AR-15 rifles. That would be one of several weapons found in the hotel room of the shooter.
“I see this one little girl in particular, you know, pointing to the thing about the AR-15 raffle and getting people to buy tickets,” [Matt] Sessums told The Washington Post. “It just kind of blew my mind that little kids were participating in something like that.”
The church’s Facebook page — which appears to have been taken down in the wake of this controversy — said that money from the raffle would go toward helping people deal with drug addictions. But it’s absurd to solve one deadly problem by introducing something else potentially lethal into the mix.
A man working with the church later said, “For some, there would never be a right time to raffle any fire arm,” but that ignores the fact that this appears to be a direct response to last week’s incident and not some pre-planned raffle. It’s at best completely insensitive to a national tragedy.
This is hardly the first time a rifle has been raffled (or won) by religious figures. A church in Kentucky did it in 2014. A New York pastor followed suit a week later and quoted John 14:27: “My peace I give unto you.” And just last year, a reverend used church funds to buy a large number of tickets to win a gun raffle for a girls’ softball team. He won the prize, dismantled the gun, then “repurposed” its parts into gardening tools.
Since the church’s Facebook page is down, it’s unclear if the raffle is still proceeding. But just imagine for a moment what the reaction would be if a mosque did the same thing.
Maybe that’s what it would take for Christians to realize just how idiotic of an idea this is.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Jon for the link)